Skip to main content

Full text of "Catalogue of paintings by Vassili Verestchagin : including the Campaign of Napoleon I. in Russia and the Battle of San Juan Hill, on exhibition in the Astor Gallery of the Waldorf-Astoria, from Friday, Nov. 14th, to Wednesday, Nov. 26th."

See other formats


«>^ ^ 




c^^JZa S' 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 




Vassili Verestchagin 









From Friday, Nov. 14th, to Wednesday, Nov. 26th. 

The Alexander Press, 

14-16 astor place, 

New York. 


Verestchagin Collection 





Wednesday, November 26th, 



JOHN FEI.I, O'BRIEN, Auctioneer. 


1. The highest bidder to be the buyer, and if any dis- 
pute arise between two or more bidders, the lot so in 
dispute shall be immediately put up again and resold. 

2. The purchasers to give their names and addresses 
and to pay down a cash deposit, or the whole of the 
purchase money, if required, in default of which the lot 
or lots so purchased to be immediately put up again and 

3. The lots to be taken away at the buyer's expense 
and risk upon the conclusion of the sale and the remain- 
der of the purchase money to be absolutely paid or 
otherwise settled for to the satisfaction of the auctioneer, 
on or before delivery; in default of which the under- 
signed will not hold himself responsible if the lots be 
lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, but they will be left 
at the sole risk of the purchaser. 

4. The sale of any article is not to be set aside on ac- 
count of any error in the description. All articles are 
exposed for public exhibition one or more days and are 
sold just as they are, without recourse. 

5. To prevent inaccuracy in delivery, and inconven- 
ience in settlement of the purchases, no lot can on any 
account be removed during the sale. 

6. If, for any cause, an article purchased cannot be 
delivered in as good condition as the same may have 
been at the time of its sale, or should any article pur- 
chased thereafter be stolen or misdelivered, or lost, the 
undersigned is not to be held liable in any greater 
amount than the price bid by the purchaser. 

7. Upon failure to comply with the above conditions, 
the money deposited in part payment shall be forfeited, 
all lots uncleared within the time aforesaid shall be re- 
sold by public or private sale, without further notice, 
and the deficiency, if any, attending such re-sale shall 
be made good by the defaulter at this sale, together 
with all charges attending the same. This condition is 
without prejudice to the right of the auctioneer to en- 
force the contract made at this sale, without such re- 
sale if he thinks fit. 

JOHN FELL O'BRIEN. Auctioneer. 


M. KNOEDLER, & CO., - - - 355 Fifth Avbnxje 

W. SCHAUS, 204 Fifth Avenue 

DURAND-RUEL, 389 Fifth Avenue 

ARTHUR TOOTH & SONS, - - - 299 Fifth Avenue 

JULIUS OEHME, - - - - 384 Fifth Avenue 
FISHEL, ADLER & SCHWARTZ, 35th and Fifth Avenue 

WM. CLAUSSEN, - - - - 381 Fifth Avenue 

PRINZ BROS., 541 Fifth Avenue 

C. W. KRAUSHARR, - - - - 260 Fifth Avenue 


Vassili Verestchagin is, like all the great masters 
of the art of painting, a man of ideals. He has been a 
deep observer of the world as it is; traveling over the 
globe, sketchbook in hand, noting on the spot what he 
saw and after choosing the most dramatic view-point 
so putting it on canvass as to make it live for all time. 

He has not been a very prolific painter and although 
the majority of his large pictures were painted with the 
idea of portraying war, in all its gruesomness, it must 
not be understood that all his work is in that line. His 
delineations of national types are startingly true, and his 
landscapes have been acclaimed by the most advanced 
impressionists as illustrating the best achievements of that 

A recent appreciation of him by M. Jules Claretie, 
Member of the French Academy, and Director of 
the Comedie Frangaise, a recognized critic of author- 
ity, and lends interest to the invitation to American 
criticiscm made in this exhibition of the Russian artist's 
latest works. 

Comedie Frangaise 
Administrator General. 

ViROFLAY (Seine & Oise), 

Aug. 9, 1902. 
John Fell O'Brien, Esq. 
Dear Sir: — 

I am very happy to learn that my friend, Mr. Verest- 
chagin, is going to exhibit his pictures at the Waldorf- 
Astoria in New York. It will be there, as it was in 
Paris and elsewhere, an important artistic event. Mr. 
Verestchagin is, in his rendering, a painter who resembles 
no other. He is an artist who not only makes you see, 
but think. Had I had the honor of being one of the 
jury of the Nobel Award, I would not have hesitated, 
in the name of humanity, to crown him, as M. Duinent, 
the initiator of the Conference of Geneva, was crowned, 
as was also M. Sully-Prudhomme, my collegiate of the 


The war pictures of Verestchagin have a thrilling ef- 
fect on one. After painting War with all its splendor, 
he denounces it with his brush as a philosopher, or, 
rather, he does not denounce it, he shows it such as it 
is, and that glory is also another name for Butchery. 

My opinion of Verestchagin's art is in accord with that 
of Alexandre Dumas Fils,and Meissonier ; (while we were 
standing before a splendid canvas by Verestchagin, rep- 
resenting the Kremlin), and Meissonier was dwelling 
upon the precision and truthfulness of the Russian painter, 
and praising his views of India, his battle fields and his 
treatment of snow, and also his treatment of sunshine, 
then Alexandre Dumas Fils quoted Victor Hugo, as 
having written that " Charles Beaudelaire has brought 
to French poetry a new emotion," and it might be said 
of Verestchagin, that he has done the same for the art 
of painting. 

I remember my impression when I first saw, in Lx)n- 
don, Verestchagin's paintings of the Turkestan War, 
nothing could have struck me more forcibly — it was 
picturesque and poignant. M. Dumas Fils, had he told 
me the same sensations while gazing on the scenes of 
the Russian War, which were, in his opinion, works of 
art, of tragic truth, which could only be compared to 
certain pages of Tolstoi. 

My friend, M. Gerome, the eminent painter, who is 
the most sincere of men, and hard to suit, can tell you 
that he has for Verestchagin the same admiration which 
Dumas Fils and Meissonier had for him; in fact, one 
can have no other opinion, this talent, both vigorous and 
determined, imposes itself on every one, as the inde- 
pendent character of the artist forces sympathy on those 
who have the pleasure of knowing him. Certainly, to 
know Verestchagin personally in the intimacy of his life, 
is to love him, and those who can thoroughly appreciate 
his work must admire his ideals . 

Yours sincerely, 

Jules Claretie. 



His work is his biography. He has Hved every one 
of his pictures, and he has often had to study at almost 
the cost of his life. All that he represents he has seen; 
all that he relates with his pencil he has lived. These 
pictures are just so many chapters detached from his 
history. They are the work of an artist of an excep- 
tional nature. But a few newspaper articles are not suf- 
ficient for the study of such a collection. It is worthy 
of a book written on the critical method of Sainte-Beuve, 
a book wherein the man would occupy a place at least 
as considerable as the work itself; for the one and the 
other are inseparable. — Emile Cardon. — Soleil, Paris. 


He is the first Russian painter who has given his 
countrymen a true impression of war — something besides 
those official pictures where victory is displayed and 
never defeat. Even when he paints victory he never 
separates it from its sadness, its ruin, its misery, its 
mourning beyond relief. I seem to have always before 
my eyes, as in a dream, that pyramid of piled-up skulls 
which he met with somewhere in his wanderings, and of 
which he has made one of his most striking pictures. 
He wrote underneath it, " Dedicated to the Conquerors." 
— Gaulois, Paris. 


When they gave Verestchagin the surname of the 
Horace Vernet of Russia, no doubt they thought that 
they were saying something in his praise; but he cer- 
tainly had a right to feel calumniated, for the general 
impression left by his work is not admiration for princes 
nor glorification of war. In telling the truth feelingly 
about the sufferings of the soldier, without distinction 
of nationality, with as much pity for the vanquished as 
for the victors, Verestchagin has shown himself essen- 



tially human. His pictures, with their poignant reality 
and elevated philosophy, are at the same time a terrible 
satire on ambitious despots. Verestchagin is a courtier 
of nothing but misfortune. A pupil of Gerome, he 
seems to have traveled very much in search of himself. 
Sometimes he has draw^n near to Meissonier, then there 
is something in him of Gericault and of Courbet, and 
again he is a true Impressionist in the best acceptation 
of the term. — L'Art, Paris. 

To look at his studies you would think you were be- 
fore some Asiatic Van der Heyden. But your emotion 
itself is forgotten under the implacable and learned ex- 
actitude of the rendering. At another time it is a sketch, 
a mere rough note of an idea which is the all-in-all, and 
then we are far enough from that Dutchman, but nearer 
Rembrandt, and sometimes we are in the very midst of 
the Impressionist school. — Constitutional, Paris. 


We poor moderns, with our unmodern art, have some- 
times moments of artistic anguish in which we feel sen- 
sible of all our faults and short-comings. The century 
has for eighty years of its course been looking for rest 
without finding it, but at length its efforts to put its 
artistic house in order seems likely to have some result. 
The realism of life streams with a full tide in every vein 
of our being, and the very beating of our pulses seems 
to speak a language not to be misunderstood. No man 
has ever painted like Verestchagin. He is essentially 
new — modern, in the profoundest sense of the word. 
He is of our century, however Russian in manner and 
subject. No earlier period could have produced him. 
The cut-and-dried artistic rules and receipts are worth 
nothing in his case. The painter emancipates himself 
from them, and his right to do so is proved by the fact 
that the spectator forgets them too the moment he sees 
the pictures. " There is always something new from 



Africa," was a saying of the Romans ; we might para- 
phrase it in regard to Russia, and ask ourselves what 
surprises of culture may not yet be in store for us in 
Siberia. Verestchagin has gone to school in the very 
home of color. He has learned to see it on the Ganges, 
the Nile, and in the Steppes of Turkestan. His tech- 
nical skill is astonishing, and it is shown especially in 
his handling of snow. The fight against winter is a 
theme which supplies him with a thousand motives for 
pictures. The sunlight out of doors and the chiaroscuro 
of indoor effects are equally familiar to him. Very 
striking too is his representation of great stretches of 
flat country which he knows how to vary by the finest 
modulations in tone. — Fremdenblatt, Vienna. 



The study of the Hfe and deeds of a mighty power of 
his time, Hke Napoleon the First, is of great interest — 
I mean a comprehensive study, excluding all inclination 
toward the legendary. The legends that are always con- 
fused with the acts of a great man, and above all, a 
warrior, are so closely linked with his memory that it is 
difficult to discern in the course of events the truth and 
fiction. The more brilliant his career and the more ex- 
traordinary his actions, the more the legend resembles 
the truth. 

The twenty years of Napoleon's career present a series 
of events beyond conception, and give often to ordinary 
actions the appearance of providential happenings. 

It is true that in 1812 the emperor began a struggle 
at the same time with men, climate, and indeed the 
world, and necessarily succumbed to the work. But his 
image is none the "less dramatic, and it is certain that 
I do not wish to lower Napoleon or his genius in paint- 
ing the great captain in several difficult positions of 
his life at the culminating point in a career unique in 

In addition to the explanations that I shall give of 
my pictures, I have gathered together in another volume 
some notes to which I wish to call attention. I have 
grouped together many characteristic extracts taken from 
contemporary memoirs or from testimony of witnesses 
about the sojourn of Napoleon in Russia in 18 12, and 
have retained as much as possible of the simplicity and 
originality of these accounts. 

It is possible in reading these pages one should say, 
" but the . French did nothing but massacre, shoot and 
pillage." This is because they went there for that pur- 



pose, but there is one reservation to make; under the 
title of " the French in 1812," is understood in Russia 
the mass of soldiers that came from the four corners of 
Europe to form the Grande Armee. As to the French 
(properly so-called), I can say that the Russian literature 
agrees in showing them, although shooting without mercy, 
somewhat more generous than their allies, especially the 
Suabians, Wurtemburgers and Bavarians, of whom the 
record is inexplicable. The Poles also were very cruel, 
but they were settling an old score with the Russians. 

Napoleon undoubtedly dominated the history of the 
century, and the war of 181 2 remains the event the most 
dramatic of this history. The immensity of the project, 
the rapidity of the course of events and the importance 
of the consequences irresistibly attract the attention of 
the artist, the politician, the philosopher, and the soldier. 

Among the events destined to throw light on the reasons 
of the enterprises directed by Napoleon against Russia, 
I should designate, first: the petition sent in the year 
1789 by Bonaparte, when First Lieutenant, to the Rus- 
sian General Zaborovsky, begging to be taken into the 
service of the Czarina, Catherine the Second. The peti- 
tion was refused, as the petitioner wished to be admitted 
with the rank of Major. It is interesting to learn that 
Zaborovsky never forgave himself for this refusal. In 
the year 1812 the old General, who had left the service 
and lived in retirement in Moscow, could not forget that 
he had rejected Bonaparte, and in so doing had in- 
directly been the cause of the misfortunes and devasta- 
tions which had overwhelmed Russia. When the em- 
peror, Alexander First, arrived in Moscow for his cor- 
onation, he questioned the General repeatedly as to this 
event. Count Rostopschin avers that he had in his hand 
the letter containing Bonaparte's request. The second 
fact of importance was the proposed marriage of Napo- 
leon to one of the sisters of Emperor Alexander, a scheme 
which was frustrated by the intense dislike of the mother 
of the young princess to the imperial suitor. It would 



indeed be unjust to ascribe the wounded vanity of the 
lieutenant and of the emperor as the sole cause of the 
constant hatred of Napoleon toward Russia ; on the other 
hand, when we consider both his character and his temp- 
erament, these facts must not be overlooked. 

In the campaign of 1812 Napoleon proved himself so 
full of ideas and contradictory resolutions, drew up so 
many impracticable plans, and conceived so many fool- 
hardy combinations, that it is impossible to explain all 
this on the theory of his desire to avenge himself for 
the pretended offense inflicted on France and all the 
civilized nations by the Russian people, or to justify his 
persistent animosity unless one takes into account that 
his vanity was mortally wounded. 

In spite of all his genius the emperor was not infal- 
lible. After his second marriage and during the empire, 
Napoleon appears to have lost all perspicacity. Impa- 
tience carries him away and his usual method of strik- 
ing in rapid successive blows carries him of necessity to 

Leaving aside the first and remote attempt to enter 
into good relations with Russia (by admission into the 
Russian service), and considering on the other hand the 
second rebuff as the immediate cause of the denouement, 
I wish to remark that neither the Russian society nor 
Emperor Alexander himself had intended to hold France 
at a distance or had fostered against its chief any un- 
bridled hate. 

It was first the Princess Catherine, after Tilsit, that 
Napoleon thought to make an Empress, but as soon as 
his intentions became apparent and before any official 
measures could be taken, a marriage was hurriedly ar- 
ranged between the young princess and the Duke of 

The Emperor, however, did not allow himself to be 
discouraged, and secretly, but with due observance to all 
etiquette, requested the hand of the Princess Anna. The 
Czar would have accepted the conqueror as the husband 



of his sister, but the dowager Empress would not even 
listen to such an alliance. After successive delays to his 
demands Napoleon recognized that it was intentional, 
and without waiting for the official refusal, dated the 
4th of February, he held a family council on the 6th of 
February, at the end of which he married the Arch- 
duchess of Austria. On her side the dowager Empress 
Marie, not contented with the rebuff given Napoleon 
before all Europe, added to the insult by bestowing the 
hand of her daughter on a petty German prince. The 
offense of the intention was but too evident. Napoleon, 
beside himself with anger, drove the Duke of Olden- 
bourg out of his own domains, and after threatening the 
whole of Alexander's German relations with the same 
fate, began elaborate preparations for war. 

I do not wish to go into an explanation of the reasons 
given, and eloquent and pathetic phrases which Napoleon 
pronounced to justify a war which he wished to under- 
take, and which he declared to be that of the civilized 
world against the savage. Europe fully recognized the 
power of France and the greatness of its ruler, and con- 
scious of its own ability to oppose his decisions was only 
ready to accept every revelation of this incorporate Prov- 

It is possible that Napoleon wished at first to inspire 
his adversary with fear by the magnitude of his prepar- 
ations for war, and to compel him publicly to hujniliate 
himself before the whole of Europe, but when Alexander 
in full view of this same Europe began to organize for 
resistance, the emperor of the French had to " drink up 
the uncorked wine." 

Here begins one of the most instructive and tragic 
pages in modern history. Recognized by the entire 
world as a superior intellect, a great military genius, 
Napoleon could not stop on the verge, and in spite of 
his own wishes, expressed many times, to stop in time, 
and not, like Charles the XII,. to penetrate into the 
heart of Russia, in spite of his comprehensive vision, he 



let himself be dragged into the heart of the immense 
country where the Grande Armee was soon to become 
engulfed in the snow. Fatigued by difficult marches 
sometimes under a burning sun and sometimes under 
excessive cold, the military spirit was lost, and the huge 
territory traversed but not conquered. Misled by the 
tactics of the enemy, who surpassed him in endurance 
and tenacity, the Emperor marches onward, strewing his 
path with corpses. He hardly arrived at Vitebsk before 
he declared the campaign at an end. " Here I shall 
halt," he said, " look about me, collect my forces, let my 
army rest, and find a new Poland. Two mighty rivers 
mark out the limits of our position. We will build 
block-houses, form a square with our artillery, construct 
barracks and store up provisions. In 1813 we shall be 
in Moscow; in 1814 at St. Petersburg. A war with 
Russia is a war of three years." 

There is reason to believe that had Napoleon remained 
in Lithuania, the good natured and pacific character of 
Alexander would have led this monarch to have brought 
about peace. But Napoleon lost patience, abandoned 
Witebsk and pressed forward. However, he decided not 
to pass Smolensk, the key to the two roads to Moscow 
and St. Petersburg, roads which he must control in order 
to be able to continue his march in the springtime on the 
two capitals. 

At Smolensk he counted on resting and establishing 
himself and putting everything in order, and if Russia 
refused to submit, that would he the end of her. But 
Smolensk was abandoned in its turn. Napoleon became 
impatient again and pressed forward once more. 

It was at Moscow that this gigantic enterprise was 
crushed. Those who participated began to murmur, and 
those who conducted it began to lose their heads. At 
Moscow he humiliated himself before Alexander: he let 
him understand, as if on purpose, the difficulty of his 
position. By the first-comer he sent message upon mes- 
sage; he overwhelmed the Czar with amiable words. 



He assured him of his friendship and his brotherly de- 
votion, and without waiting a response to his letters he 
sent his generals. He wished to make peace ; " I must 
have peace," said he to Lauriston, in sending him to find 
Kutusoff. " Peace at any price save only honor." Never- 
theless, as General, he permitted pillage, while as Em- 
peror he became irritated by being unable to stop it. He 
wished to march upon St. Petersburg at the beginning 
of winter, and as if to mock the chiefs of his army, he 
ordered the purchase of twenty thousand horses and great 
quantities of forage in a country already completely 

Then came retreat with intentional delays to preserve 
booty. The Russians took the outposts and barred the 
passage to Malo-Iaroslavetz. The division of the army 
into independent columns permitted them to be fought 
one after the other; they were almost entirely destroyed. 
Systematic burning by the advance guard of the villages 
through which they passed, demoralized and ruined the 
rest of the army. In the end the license permitted the 
soldiers to profane the churches, to starve and put to 
death the prisoners, provoked the population which was 
irritated to horrible retaliations. Here and there, as at 
Krasnoie, the emperor showed some gleams of genius, 
but they were only the manifestations of the great force 
of his soul, the last intermittent but powerful gleams of 
a star which was about to be extinguished. 

Vassili Verestchagin 



— AND — 




San Juan Hill 

That part of the hill up which Roosevelt led the Rough 

Comer of the Morro Castle at Santiago 

Showing in the distance part of the naval battle and 
the blowing up of the Spanish ship Oquendo. 

Principal Gate leading to Morro Castle, Havana 

The U. S. troops passed through this gate. 


U. S. Battery 

Commanding the entrance of the Harbor of Santiago 
de Cuba. 

Far from Home 

H. $o}i in., W. i6}i in. 

A typical American soldier in the American army of 
occupation of the Philippines. 




General MacArthur and his Staff at the Battle of 
Caloocan, Feb. lo, 1899 

H. 48 in., W. 29 in. 

Fought a few days later than the battle of Santa Ana. 
The troops engaged were the ist Brigade, 2nd Division, 
8th Army Corps, and part of the 2nd Brigade of the 
same Division. The troops were commanded by Gen. 
Arthur MacArthur in person, and consisted of the loth 
Kansas Regiment, U. S. Volunteers, a Light Battery of 
the 6th U. S. Artillery, 2 Batteries, Utah Light Artillery, 
1st Montana Regiment, U. S. Volunteers, loth Penn- 
sylvania Regiment, U. S. Volunteers, the 3rd Artillery, 
1st Colorado Volunteers and the ist Nebraska Volunteers. 
The position occupied by the Headquarters of Gen. Mac- 
Arthur was on top of a row of tombs in the cemetery 
of La Loma Church near Manila. The battle was fought 
for the possession of the town of Caloocan. Col. Frost 
occupied this entrenched cemetery with his regiment. 
The forward movement began about 3 p. m. and con- 
tinued until dark. The movement began by throwing 
forward part of the 3rd Artillery and loth Pennsylvania 
Volunteers well to the right for a demonstration; the 
whole line then moved forward and swinging gradually 
to the left carried the earth works constructed by the 
insurgents, on the south of Caloocan as well as all along 
the east side of Caloocan. Very strong intrenchments 
had been constructed over the railroad bed just north of 
Caloocan, where some artillery was used by the insur- 

This was probably the most picturesque fight during 
the entire insurrection. From the point of view of the 
Commanding General at La Loma Church nearly all the 
troops could be seen during the entire movement. The 
3rd Artillery, commanded by Major (now General) 
Kobbe, moved as if in extended order drill, never losing 


the regularity of formation or control of their fire. As 
an incident of the battle to the observer, the following 
might be mentioned: 

General Kobbe was riding his pony with the advanced 
Hne, when General Bell (then Major Bell), who had 
command of several companies of native scouts, appeared 
from the right, approached General Kobbe and in a heavy 
part of the fire chatted for some moments in the open. 
General Kobbe drew a cigar from his pocket, struck a 
match and lighted it and went on as if at ordinary drill. 

The casualties on the American side of this fight were 
about 20 killed and some 40 wounded. The casualties on 
the side of the insurgents were about 200 killed and 400 
wounded. — Memoranda of Capt. Wm. G. Haan. 

Battle near Santa Ana, Manila 
H. S^Va in-j W. 71^ in. 

Fought on the morning of February 5, 1899, between 
U. S. Troops and native insurgents of the Philippine 
Islands. The United States troops engaged were the ist 
Brigade, ist Division, 8th Army Corps, consisting of the 
1st Washington Volunteers, the 2d Oregon Regiment of 
Volunteers, the ist California Regiment of Volunteers, 
Company A, U. S. Engineers and the Wyoming Batallion 
U. S. Volunteers. 

The fight began at daylight and lasted until 10.30 
o'clock, A. M. The brigade was commanded by Gen. 
Charles King, U. S. Volunteers. The ist Division was 
commanded by Major-General Thomas M. Anderson, 
U. S. Volunteers. 

The movements of the battle of Santa Ana were gen- 
erally directed by General Anderson around a point known 
as " Battery Knoll." (This is the point from which the 
artist took his observation.) 



General Charles King was in immediate command of 
the line in front of Santa Ana. 

The movement across the small creek near Battery 
Knoll began about 7:30 in the morning and advanced 
gradually to a point about half way to Santa Ana, where 
a considerable firing took place and little movement for- 
ward was made for nearly an hour. The right wing, 
under command of General (then Colonel) James F. 
Smith, I St California Volunteers, was pushed well to the 
front towards San Pedro Macati and then swung into 
the left upon Santa Ana, forming a partial envelope. 
The movement was then gradually forward until the city 
of Santa Ana was taken at about 10:15 a. m. 

The casualties on the American side consisted of 14 
killed and about 60 wounded. The casualties on the side 
of the insurgents were never accurately known, but from 
the number that were buried the next day, it appeared 
that approximately 300 were killed and not less than five 
or six hundred wounded. 

The strength of the troops in Santa Ana were com- 
posed of a division commanded by General Pio del Pilar, 
who however was not in immediate command. The line 
was immediately commanded by General Ricarte, who it 
is said disappeared to the rear early in the action. 

The insurgent troops contested the ground very stub- 
bornly for several hours. This was shown from the fact 
that in one trench about 50 yards long, 34 dead were 
found. Similar evidences were found in many places. 

The two pieces of Artillery on Battery Knoll did ex- 
cellent execution, both towards Santa Ana and towards 
the right in driving away parties having a flank fire on 
the Brigade moving on Santa Ana. — Memoranda of 
Capt. Wm. G. Haan. 

A Deserter, examined by the Cavalry Officers of the 
Vanguard to discover whether he is a spy 

H. 42 in., W. 51 in. 




Battle at Zapote Bridge 

This battle was fought between 2 p. m. and* 3 130 p. m. 
June 13, 1899. General Lawton was in command. Cap- 
tain Seay commanded the infantry and Lieutenant Kenly 
the artillery. The loss was not very great on the Amer- 
ican side, about six killed and fifteen wounded. The 
most striking incident of the fight was the use of the 
mountain artillery, which was worked at the close range 
of 35 or 40 yards. 

The Insurgent Spy 


" You are hit, Sergeant? " " Yes, Sir 

H. 40^ in., W. 2954 in. 


Battle of San Juan: 




Awaiting Peace 
H. 23^4 in., W. 29J/^ in. 

Napoleon, who had always been remarkable for his 
extreme rapidity of thought and action, now lost courage 
and could determine on no direct course. He, who in the 
year 1805 had been able suddenly to abandon the Bou- 
logne undertaking, begun with so much trouble and cost, 
in order to lead all his forces into the field with incred- 
ible rapidity against Austria; he, who a year later dic- 
tated, without the slightest mistake or miscalculation, all 
the movements of his army, as far as Berlin itself, who 
not only fixed beforehand upon the date of his entry into 
the Prussian capital, but even appointed the Governor — 
found himself, after the burning of Moscow, which de- 
stroyed all his hopes and plans, in a lamentable state of 
indecision. At one time he almost signed an order direct- 
ing the army to hold itself in readiness to march against 
St. Petersburg, but he soon gave up this plan. He wished 
to attack Kutusoff, become master of Tula and Kaluga, 
the arsenal and storehouse of Russia, and thus make a 
new way for his winter quarters in Lithuania; but again 
he changed his mind. Finally, he thought of attacking 
Wittgenstein with all his forces, but could not determine 
upon this movement, as it might have borne the appear- 
ance of a retreat. 

The idea of gaining possession of St. Petersburg and 
compelling the Emperor Alexander to come to terms was 
the most attractive to Napoleon. But as this could not 
possibly be carried out before the winter, he cast about for 
some other means of enforcing peace. Alexander had 
already received, or would within a few days receive, his 
amiable and friendly letter, dated from Moscow. Natur- 
ally, he thought, the Emperor would not fail to embrace 
this opportunity of entering into negotiations with him; 
and thus, full of torturing uncertainty, he waited and 
waited for his answer from the Russian Emperor. 



Marshal Davout in the Monastery of Tchoudow 

H. 48 in., W. 305^ in. 

Davout had his headquarters in the new convent of the 
Virgins. When, however, he came in the exigencies of 
the service to the Kremlin, he stopped at Tchoudow Mon- 
astery, where the altar had been thrown out and his camp- 
bed put in its place. Two privates mounted guard on 
either side of the holy door. 

Return from the Palace of Petrowsky 

H. 34>4 in., W. 54 in. 

From the 5th to the 17th of September it rained heavily, 
which diminishes without suppressing altogether the con- 
flagration, and when Napoleon returned from the Palace 
of Petrowsky to the Kremlin, the city not only was smok- 
ing still, but was in flames in some places. The camp of 
the French troops which surrounded the palace extended 
as far as the gate of Twer. The Generals occupied the! 
factories. The cavalry camped on the avenues. In every 
direction great fires were lighted, fed by window frames, 
doors and all kinds of furniture. Around these burning 
piles, on wet straw, were grouped the officers and soldiers 
begrimed and black with smoke, sitting in arm chairs, or 
lying on sofas garnished with rich materials. They 
wrapped their feet up in costly furs and oriental shawls, 
and ate from silver plates a black soup of horse-flesh 
mixed with ashes. One could see in the city but the re- 
mains of houses, and everywhere a sickening odor of 
burning came from the ruins. In most of the streets it 
was difficult to effect a passage on account of the crum- 
bling of the walls and the piles of household furniture and 
other articles. 

The Emperor met everywhere bands of soldiers drag- 
ging their plunder with them or driving before them like 



beasts of burden Russians who bent double under their 
loads. The men of the different corps, most of them 
drunk, refused to obey their officers and fought one an- 
other for their plunder. Napoleon, though accustomed 
to view with a calm curiosity the most frightful battle- 
fields, could not help being affected by this spectacle. Im- 
mediately upon his return he interested himself in the sad 
condition of the foreigners and especially the French, but 
for the tattered starving Russian who wandered here and 
there he had no more consideration than to establish a 
court-martial, which rid him of those he thought in- 
cendiaries, that is to say, of almost all those who dared to 
show themselves on that day. 

" At one time," relates a citizen of Moscow, " I saw the 
people running towards a place where numerous French 
were going also. They were going to hang some so- 
called incendiaries that these brigand-soldiers had gath- 
ered in. Among them I recognized one ; he was a servant 
from the house of Korsakoff ; he was old and blind. Was 
it possible that he had been an incendiary ! He had al- 
ready one foot in the tomb. They took all those who fell 
into their hands and made of them incendiaries. When 
the rope was put around their neck they began to beg in 
a manner that drew tears from several among us, but the 
hands of the blackguards did not falter. They hanged 
some and shot others to make an example and to scare 
those that were looking on." 

But after the arrival of Napoleon at the Kremlin the 
order to stop this pillage was given and repeated without 
success. " The Emperor," one may read in the reports, 
" saw with much sorrow that, in spite of his express com- 
mands, the pillage continued with the same violence." 
" From to-morrow, the 30th of September," says another 
order, " all soldiers who are arrested for pillaging will be 
judged with the greatest severity," but the orders of 
Napoleon were ineffectual. The looting continued, and 
the whole French army was soon no more than a horde 
overladen with booty. 



The Hut in Gorodnia: Advance or Retreat? 

H. 4oy2 in., W. 59>^ in. 

Napoleon was in Borowsk when he received the good 
news of the occupation of Malo-Iaroslavetz by a French 
division. This occupation was effected without a battle, 
the French having arrived ahead of the Russians on the 
road to Kalouga, During this whole day the emperor on 
horseback kept a watchful eye upon the country. His 
eyes were kept on the left side of the route, from which he 
feared to see the Russian army issue, but the latter was 
not to be seen, and he passed a tranquil night. But on the 
following day, the 24th of October, he learned that " the 
Russians were there, and that they had defeated and 
driven from laroslavetz the French division, which had 
been expecting the corps of the Viceroy Eugene to come 
to its help, and that the struggle had been sanguinary." 
Napoleon in great excitement hurried to one of the neigh- 
boring heights and listened eagerly. Could the Barbar- 
ians have been too cunning for him ! Was it possible that 
the old fox, Kutusof f , had outwitted him ! Or could he 
himself have been too slow ! Could he. Napoleon, have 
been the cause of this defeat through his want of energy ! 
If he had not for a whole day held back the Prince Eugene 
at Fominskoe, the prince would have already been at 
Malo-Iaroslavetz, and consequently at Kalouga, and they 
would have been in advance of the enemy; that was an 
assured line of retreat. 'How idiotic not to press the 
march, to reduce the baggage of the troops, the marshals, 
and his own ! He was too late, and now what chances ! 
Fine weather, his army leaving Moscow rested and re- 
mounted; all due to him as much as to Kutusof f; all 
ruined, and his fault ! He listens, he listens again ; steady 
cannonading ! It is certainly a battle ! It is now clear 
to him that it is no longer a question of fame, but of 
saving the army and of flight. 



When the firing of the cannon became more and more 
rare, he entered one of the huts of the hamlet of Gorodnia, 
some miles from Malo-Iaroslavetz, and called together 
the marshals who were at hand. 

All through the night one report succeeded another, 
telling him that the field of battle remained in the hands 
of the French. The Russians, repulsed but sheltered in 
the forest, occupied a stronger position on the other side 
of the town and their ranks were augmented from hour 
to hour. At last came the news that the army of Kutu- 
soff disclosed the intention of turning the left wing of 
the French by the road of Medyne, and that there was no 
choice except to engage in a general battle, or to beat a 
retreat. At eleven o'clock Marshal Bessieres, sent to 
reconnoitre, returned and reported that the position of the 
Russians was impregnable. The Emperor folded his arms 
on his breast. " Do you hold yourself responsible for 
what you are saying?" Bessieres repeats his report, 
and assures him that the Russian position is so solid that 
with three hundred men they could hold in check an entire 
army. He ventures to propose retreat, and is backed by 
other officers. The emperor listens to their opinions and 
asks Count Lobau, " What is your advice ? " " Retreat, 
sir, by the shortest road, and as soon as possible." 

Napoleon, always with his arms folded, his head bent, 
remained sitting in an attitude of deep thought. There 
was no longer any doubt he had made a mistake, and he 
alone was responsible, he could not accuse any one else. 
The image of Charles XII., so often mentioned during 
this campaign, and his blunders, which he had so firmly 
determined not to repeat, appeared before his eyes in spite 
of him. How had it all happened ! 

As usually occurs in such cases, when conscience brings 
all our actions in a lightning flash before our eyes, he saw 
in a moment the whole history of the campaign, from the 
occupation of Moscow to the present time. 

He remembered the order given by him to Marshal Mortier, 
appointed Military Governor of the capital, to prevent all incen- 
diarism, all plundering : " Your head will answer for it I Defend 



Moscow above all and against all ! " Then came the dreadful 
night which brought to his ears the sad reports of incendiarism. 
He had been overcome by them and could find no rest. Again 
and again he had called up his attendants and made them repeat 
these rumors, always hoping that they could not substantiate them, 
till, at two o'clock in the morning, the flames broke forth! He 
had hurried in person to the scene of the conflagration, giving one 
order after the other, scolded, threatened. The fire seemed to be 
extinguished, and he had returned to the Kremlin somewhat reas- 
sured. He had at last seen himself the possessor of the Palace of 
the Muscovite Tsars. 

" Now we shall see," he said, " what the Russians will do 
next! If they will not now begin to treat for peace they must 
be made to do so by patience and perseverance. We are now 
in winter quarters, and we will show the world the spectacle 
of an army peaceably wintering, surrounded by a hostile popu- 
lation, like a ship in the midst of Arctic ice ! In the spring we 
will begin the war anew. But Alexander will never let matters 
come to this extremity, we shall agree and conclude peace." 

Napoleon had evidently foreseen all these contingencies — the 
bloody struggle before Moscow, the long stay at Moscow itself, 
the severe winter, even disasters ; but, with the city in his power, 
and 250,000 soldiers at his back, he thought himself secure against 
the worst. 

But then came the unforeseen — the city was engulfed in a 
huge, inconceivable conflagration. The earth seemed to open 
and spit out the fires of hell. Even now, when thinking over the 
events of that night, he shuddered at the recollection of his awak- 
ening in the double glare of dawn and of these terrible flames, 
remembered his order that the fire should be put out at any cost, 
and the conviction, to which he was speedily driven, that this 
was an order impossible to execute, and that there was a will 
at work even stronger than his own. 

This conquest, for the sake of which he had made every sac- 
rifice, which, like a shadow, he had endeavored to seize, eluded 
his grasp, vanished in fire, in clouds of smoke, in the crackling 
and crumbling of falling buildings ! Again he called to mind 
how, in his excitement, he did not know where to begin, what to 
undertake; how he had sat down, stood up, sat down again; had 
set about some urgent work, thrown it aside, rushed to the 
windows to watch the track of the fire, and then cried : " This, 
then, is what they are, these barbarians, these Scythians ! How 
many magnificent buildings — palaces! What resolution! What 
men ! " 

The panes near which he stood were so hot that they burnt 
his face, and the men placed on the roofs had scarcely time to 



extinguish the sparks as they fell. A rumor spread that the 
Kremlin was undermined, and many servants, and even court 
officials, lost their heads with fear. Napoleon had sadly watched 
the flames snatching away his brilliant conquest, even blocking 
up his way out of the Kremlin, and holding him prisoner. He 
had seen the neighboring buildings fall victims to the flames, and, 
watching the ring of fire close in around him, had already begun 
to breathe smoke and ashes. 

The King of Naples and Prince Eugene hurry to him, and, 
together with Berthier, beg him on their knees to leave the palace, 
but he still remains. 

At last the report is brought in, " Fire in the Kremlin ! The 
incendiary captured ! " 

He now makes up his mind to leave the Kremlin, rushes down 
the celebrated Strelitz Staircase, and gives orders to be taken to 
the Petrowsky Palace outside the city. He must hurry, for the 
flames around him increase at every moment. He hastens to the 
river, whence a small winding street leads him to an outlet from 
this hell. 

On foot he presses forward, through this fearful avenue of 
flame, through the crackling of innumerable burning buildings, 
the thunder of falling masonry, of beams crashing from the roofs, 
and molten metal pouring from the gutters. The road is so 
covered with debris of all kinds that it is most difficult to force 
a passage. The fires which destroyed the buildings in front of 
which he had to pass rose upwards on both sides of the streets 
and formed above his head a veritable arch of flame. 

In this desparate situation, where haste alone could ensure 
safety, the guide came to a stand. He had lost his way. Napo- 
leon's career on this earth would have ended there and then had 
it not been that some marauders of the First Army Corps recog- 
nized their Emperor, hurried up to his aid, and led him out to an 
open space that had already been burnt out. He now involuntarily 
shuddered at the recollection of these awful moments. In spite of 
the storm which had burst forth, of the many eyes fixed upon him, 
waiting for his commands, he could not shake off the incubus 
of this recollection. 

Again he remembered how, early the next morning, he had 
cast a glance from the Petrowsky Palace in the direction of Mos- 
cow, and had had to acknowledge to himself that the conflagra- 
tion was ever on the increase, and that the whole city seemed 
like one huge devouring pillar of flame and smoke. 

The extraordinary effort to obtain possession of Moscow had 
exhausted all his resources. Moscow was the end of all his plans, 
the goal of all hopes and endeavours, and this Moscow was now 
vanishing. What should he now do? 



He who was accustomed to explain his plans only so far as to 
ensure their due execution was now driven to seek advice. Na- 
poleon proposed to march on St. Petersburg. The Marshals 
argued that the season was too unfavourable, the roads too much 
cut up, that provisions were unobtainable, and that, therefore, 
such a campaign was not to be thought of. Out-voted, but not 
convinced, he could not fix on any definite plan; he hesitated, 
and suffered tortures. 

He had so confidently hoped for peace in Moscow that he had 
not even provided for proper winter quarters, and could not make 
up his mind to face another battle, as this would expose the 
whole line of operation, now strewn with wounded, sick, and 
stragglers, and blocked up by carts. The main point, was how- 
ever, that he could not renounce the hope for which he had 
sacrificed so much, that the letter which he had addressed to 
Alexander would be successful. That letter must now have 
passed the Russian outposts, and within the week, perhaps, he 
would receive the longed for answer to his proposals of peace 
and friendship. Why not? 

His fame, his star were at that time still in full splendor, why 
should he not believe in the possibility of a favourable issue ! 
At that time he had stood firm, had not run away as he had now 
to do. 

Under the weight of these remembrances Napoleon 
remained stupefied, and to the demands of the Marshals, 
who continued to await his orders, he replied only with 
a discouraged shaking of his head. He passed a sleep- 
less night. At daylight he got into his saddle and left 
for Malo-Iaroslavetz so quickly that the four squadrons 
of cavalry which constituted his habitual escort, ordered 
up too late, were not ready. Long lines of ambulances, 
wagons of powder and ammunition encumbered the way. 
Suddenly, in the distance on the left of the road, were 
discerned several groups, then a compact mass of cavalry. 
The stragglers and women who follow the army took 
fright and scattered in disorder, howling and groaning 
in a great panic. It was the Cossacks of Platoff. They 
advanced with such rapidity that the Emperor, not un- 
derstanding at once what it meant, halted. General Rapp 
had but time to seize briskly the bridle of Napoleon's 
horse, and turning quickly, cried, " Save yourself, they 
are here." Napoleon succeeded in escaping, but the 


horse of Rapp received such a lance stroke that he fell 
with the General. The cavalry escort which now gal- 
loped up saved the Emperor and his suite, and the Cos- 
sacks disappeared as quickly as they came. Intent on 
plunder, they had not remarked the magnificent prey 
they had allowed to escape. The brave Rapp related 
afterwards that Napoleon, remarking the General's horse 
bleeding, asked him if he were not wounded. Upon his 
answering that he was only bruised by the fall. Napoleon 
burst into loud laughter. The general added, that for 
his part, he had no desire to do likewise. 

The battle-field of Malo-Iaroslavetz was horrible. The 
city, which changed masters eleven times, had disappeared 
from the face of the earth. The streets were marked by 
lines of bodies. After congratulating the Viceroy on his 
victory and being assured that the Russians were work- 
ing with feverish energy to fortify their position. Napo- 
leon returned to the hut of Gorodnia, where Murat, the 
Prince Eugene, Berthier, Davout and Bessieres followed 
him. Thus in that small, dark and dirty room an Em- 
peror, two Kings and several Dukes and Marshals met 
together to decide as to the fate of the Grand Armee, and 
with it that of all Europe. On a bench in the center of the 
only room was seated Murat, the marshals stood be- 
fore the table, on which, under the ikon. Napoleon, his 
head hidden in his hands, endeavored to conceal the ter- 
rible anguish and indecision betrayed by his countenance. 
An inkstand, a map and the celebrated plumed hat of 
Murat were on the table, on the benches a portfolio and 
rolls of maps, on the floor torn envelopes and fragments 
of reports. Silence reigned in the room. It was neces- 
sary to get out of a position which had become critical, 
to solve a complicated problem ! How to reach Smolensk 
and by what route ! By Kalouga ? There untouched re- 
gions would be crossed, rich and well provisioned, but 
defended at all points by the Russian army. By Mojaisk 
and Viazma? The old route they had taken in coming, 
where the country was starved, ravaged, burned and in- 



fected. The silence was long. Napoleon for a long 
time mentally weighed all the chances of success in one 
case and the other, but he could not succeed in making 
any decision. His eyes wandered over the map spread 
out before him, or fixed themselves again and again 
on Malo-Iaroslavetz and Kalouga, his recollections al- 
ways taking him to Moscow, to the neighborhood of 
Alexander, and bringing back to him his attempts at 
peace. He thought of the humiliations which these at- 
tempts entailed, of his letters which remained unanswered. 
Smarting under these insults, he again proposed to his 
Marshals to burn all that was left of Moscow, and to 
march on St. Petersburg. He endeavored to excite 
their imagination with the prospect of new exploits. 
" Think," he said, " of the glory that will cover us, and 
how the world will praise us, when it hears that in three 
months we have captured the two capitals of the North ! " 
But they again urged the severity of the weather, and 
the bad state of the roads. " Why should we rush 
towards a winter which is so rapidly approaching ? " 
they asked. " What will become of our wounded ? We 
shall have to leave them to Kutusoff's mercy, and he 
is certain to follow us. We shall have to attack and 
defend ourselves at one and the same time, conquer and 
fly ! " 

These discouraging responses influenced him to at- 
tempt a new effort with Alexander, and to try once 
more if the charm that he had in bygone times so power- 
fully exercised upon him still existed. This proved but 
one more humiliation. He had chosen Caulaincourt, 
who he knew was favored by the Czar, but whom he 
had neglected on account of his constant opposition to 
the whole campaign. Too proud to acknowledge his 
error Napoleon remained silent for a long time before 
his chamberlain. Then he spoke. He said he was ready 
to march on to St. Petersburg, He knew that the ruin 
of this city would affect Caulaincourt, his ancient am- 
bassador, and be a great calamity. He wished to pre- 



vent this, and inasmuch as he had a high opinion of his 
enemy, the Emperor Alexander, he had decided to send 
Caulaincourt to St. Petersburg; what had he to say- 
to this? 

Caulaincourt was an obstinate man, and no courtier, 
although he had once been an Ambassador, and he openly 
declared that such a message would be useless, that 
Alexander would hear nothing, and refuse to entertain 
the idea of peace until every Frenchman had left the 
soil of Russia. In his opinion, Russia knew well, es- 
pecially at this season, the strength of her own position 
and the weakness of the enemy's. Such an attempt 
would do more harm than good, as it would acquaint 
Alexander with the dangerous situation in which Napo- 
leon found himself, and enable him to guess how urgently 
the Emperor desired peace. Moreover, Napoleon's sol- 
icitude would be more evident the higher the position 
of the person sent as Ambassador. He, Caulaincourt, 
would be the less likely to obtain his object, inasmuch 
as he would arrive at St. Petersburg strong in this con- 
viction. " Enough," interrupted Napoleon, angrily, " I 
shall send Lauriston." 

But Lauriston was equally unwilling to undertake 
the mission, and advised that, instead of negotiations, 
the retreat should begin without delay. The Emperor 
was obliged to insist, and at last explicitly commanded 
Lauriston to undertake the negotiations. He rode off 
with a letter to Kutusoff, requesting a free pass to St. 

Kutusoff and his Generals well understood how to 
deceive Lauriston with flatteries, courtesies and an ap- 
parent desire for a speedy conclusion of this terrible 
campaign, and Napoleon himself was so greatly misled 
by this duplicity that he summoned his staff and made 
known to them the approach of peace. 

Had Lauriston overlooked the red uniform of the 
Englishman, Wilson, behind Kutusoff's chair? Why 
had he indulged in these vain boasts, even if it were 



only to those most intimate with him! 

Whilst Napoleon was pondering over these things, 
the Marshals were whispering to one another, closely 
watching the Emperor, but not daring to disturb him. 
He sat bent over his map, still invincible, still uncon- 
quered, but oppressed with the most intense anxiety for 
the fate of his army, his name, his dynasty and France. 

Napoleon thought of his melancholy walks through 
the huge cemetery, for the Moscow of that time resem- 
bled nothing so closely — through masses of plundered 
wealth, the masquerades in which the troops had in- 
dulged, subversive of all discipline, the daily exhibition 
of rich gifts, which seemed to terrify rather than to de- 
light the recipients. 

He remembered the sleepless nights, during one of 
which he disclosed to an intimate friend. Count Daru, 
the inward workings of his mind, and acknowledged to 
him openly the difficulty of his position. He still pos- 
sessed sufficient clearness of mind to recognize the true 
state of affairs after the return of Lauriston. 

Napoleon acknowledged that in this savage country 
he had not conquered one single man, and could only 
call his own that piece of earth on which at that moment 
he stood, that he simply felt himself absorbed by the 
huge, immeasurable territory of Russia. He admitted 
that he only hesitated to retreat because he could not 
bring himself to admit, in the eyes of Europe, that he 
was fleeing from Russia — he shrank from dealing the 
first blow to his supposed invincibility. 

It was now evident to him that here, as in Spain, 
the guiding principle of his policy, never to withdraw, 
never openly to acknowledge a mistake, however great 
it might be, but to march steadily onward, was no longer 

He well understood that he could not depend on Prus- 
sia, and that nothing could be done with Austria. He 
furthermore saw that Kutusoff had overreached him, but 
still he hesitated. It appeared, in fact, equally impossible 



for him to halt or to retreat, to advance or to risk a battle 
with any prospect of victory. 

During this period of vacillation and doubt he was at 
great pains to persuade himself and others that matters 
were not so bad as they appeared to be. The loss of 
Moscow, he argued, " was indeed a misfortune, but it 
had also its good side, for if the city had not been 
deserted it would have been difficult to maintain order 
among its 300,000 fanatical inhabitants, and, at the same 
time, to sleep quietly in the Kremlin. It was true that 
nothing now remained of Moscow except ruins. Still, 
one could at least occupy them in peace. Again, although 
millions in " contributions " were lost, how many thou- 
sand millions was Russia losing. Her commerce had 
been destroyed for a century at least, and the develop- 
ment of the nation retarded for at least fifty years — 
that was no mean result! When the excitement of the 
Russians was at an end, and the hour for deliberation 
struck, then would they be terrified. The blow would 
undoubtedly shake the throne of Alexander, and compel 
him to sue for peace. 

The check of Murat at Taroutina, the abandonment 
of the ruins of Moscow, the insoluble situation at Malo- 
laroslavetz finally determined Napoleon to cease all ter- 
giversation. Retreat was imperative. The first to break 
the silence was Murat, he showed signs of impatience. 
" I may be accused of recklessness," he said, " but we 
cannot remain in one spot, and as it is dangerous to go 
back, let us attack. What does it matter if the Russians 
are behind their fortresses. Give me what is left of the 
cavalry and I will force a passage to Kalouga." Napo- 
leon quenched this ardor, saying that enough had been 
done for glory, and it was necessary to think of saving 
the army. Bessieres said that the tired remnants of the 
cavalry had not enough spirit and was incapable of the 
effort that the King of Naples demanded of it. It was 
only necessary to survey the battlefield of the day before 
to be convinced of the courage of the Russians and to 



see that the new recruits knew how to fight and die. 
Bessieres concluded his speech with advice to retreat, 
and the Emperor, judging from his silence, was not far 
from assent, when Davout remarked that if they decided 
on retreating they would have to march towards Smo- 
lensk by the Medyne. Either from wounded self-love 
or because of his hatred for Davout, Murat shouted that 
the Marshal wished to take the army to its destruction, 
harassed as it would be on its flanks by Kutusoff. 
" Will you, Davout, undertake to defend it ? Have we 
not the straight line to Borowsk and to Mojaisk to beat 
a retreat upon, with provisions awaiting us ? " " My 
way is sure and much shorter," howled Davout, " the 
soldiers would find themselves in villages which are in- 
tact and will furnish living and shelter from the cold. 
On your route, Murat, there is sand or the cinders of 
destroyed places, and for the comfort of the soldiers, 
epidemic and hunger ! if the Emperor wishes advice, here 
it is! You cannot compel me to keep silence although 
you are a King. You are not my King, and you never 
will be." Berthier and Bessieres separated in time the 
two chiefs. During this dispute the Emperor remained 
seated and motionless, bending over his map apparently 
heedless of the quarrel. At last he raised his head and 
said to his companions in arms, " Well, gentlemen, I will 
give the order." 


Resting by Night 

H. 42 in., W. 60 in. 

The frightful winter which had let itself loose, surprised 
the French army. Embarrassed by the immense booty, 
and laden with precious things, they had no warm cloth- 
ing, and the cold proved to them that they were not 
masters of that country. The order of Napoleon to burn 


everything on their way, as a pretence of punishing the 
Russians, struck first his own army. The order being 
executed by the advance guard instead of the rear, it 
deprived the unhappy soldiers of all hope of warming 
themselves from time to time, and obliged them to pass 
the nights sleeping in the open air. Those who suc- 
ceeded in lighting fires stayed for hours together seated 
around them, not noticing that they were burning their 
clothes, while their frost-bitten limbs were slowly freez- 
ing. Some of them got right into the fire and there 
perished. The nights of snow and tempest were espec- 
ially terrible. In crowded ranks, enveloped in rags and 
tatters, the soldiers uttered prolonged groans that seemed 
to rise above the raging of the tempest. Soldiers, of- 
ficers, generals, mixed together, cried for their native 
land, for their mothers, for their brothers, and covered 
with imprecations the names of Alexander and Napoleon. 

Napoleon in the Frost 

H. 30>4 in., W. 23>^ in. 

" Napoleon was clothed in a Polish dress, consisting 
of a cap trimmed with sable and a green coat edged with 
the same fur, with gold frogs, and warm top boots. . . . 
Napoleon was on foot, . . . He was dressed in the 
above-mentioned costume, and had in his hands a birchen 
staff." — Chambray. 

Revenge — Hurrah ! 

H. 56 in., W. 6o>4 in. 

Napoleon left Smolensk, and Prince Kutusoff left 
Stschelkanow to march towards Krasnoje on one and the 
same day. 



Thither hastened also on the enemy's side the Corps 
commanded by Junot, the artillery of the Guard, the parks 
of artillery, the Cavalry and the Guides. The Polish 
Corps covered the left flank. 

Then came the French from Smolensk — first the 
Viceroy, then Davout, and at last Ney, all at a distance 
of a day's march from one another. 

Ney received the command of the rear-guard after 
Davout had been declared too pedantic and slow. He 
was ordered to put the sick and wounded out of their 
misery, to burn anything that could not be carried away, 
to blow up all walls and towns, for Napoleon said that 
" in his next campaign he did not wish to be stopped by 
these obstacles." 

Prince Kutusoff communicated the movements of the 
arn^y to Tschitschagow, and added that for the future he 
would follow up Napoleon's left flank. " By so doing 
I shall keep up my connection with the fertile provinces, 
a safe communication with you, and when the enemy 
does not see me near him he will not dare to halt for 
fear lest I shall surround him." Miloradowitsch received 
instructions to occupy the road to Krasnoje, and to en- 
deavor to cut off the retreat of the enemy into the town. 
He was to be careful not to drive the French to despair, 
but let them retreat, and, as far as possible, only skir- 
mish with the flank or rear-guards. 

At four o'clock in the afternoon on November 3d, 
Miloradowitsch approached the high road and saw the 
French Guard, led by Napoleon. The Emperor was 
taken aback by the appearance of the Russians, as he 
had not thought it possible that they could head him, 
and he believed himself to be followed only by Cossacks. 

The eldest son of Starost Semen was serving in a 
regiment of the Guards. Semen had the right to exempt 
his sons from military service, but as he did not wish to 
be less patriotic than the nobility, who, without excep- 
tion, hurried off to the war, he caused his eldest son to 
be enrolled. The second lived in the wood, where, with 



the women, he looked after the property that had been 
saved and stored in quickly - constructed earthen huts. 
The youngest son had joined the Starost in tracking 
down the enemy. 

The son knew nothing of the misfortunes that had 
overtaken the old man, but he had heard that the latter 
was seriously engaging, not only marauders and strag- 
glers, but small parties of foragers. As he was now in 
the neighborhood of his home, he hoped to meet, if not 
his father, at least some of the family. 

The apparent want of resolution on the part of their 
leader, Kutusoff, was totally incomprehensible to the 
Russian rank and file. The soldiers related how " He " 
— that was the Field-Marshal — had given orders not to 
press too closely upon the retreating foe, and not to pro- 
voke a desperate defence on the part of men driven to 
bay. " Pity ! " They were all longing for the end of 
the war, they could not be worse off in the next world 
than they were now during this winter campaign. Mi- 
loradowitsch's men suffered exceptionally severely, and 
had to endure cold, hunger, and fatigue. Whilst the 
main army moved comparatively slowly, with intervals 
of rest, they knew absolutely no cessation of their daily 
change of position. The foragers brought in very little, 
horses and men marched with the greatest difficulty, and 
the losses were enormous. The soldiers slept in the open, 
and in warming themselves set fire to their own clothes. 
On days when provisions were scarce Miloradowitsch 
used to say, " The less bread, the more fame." That 
was not, however, the prevalent sentiment. The hope of 
cutting off the enemy's army, and capturing it, together 
with Napoleon, was common to both officers and men. 
It was not known with which of the regiments the Em- 
peror of the French would be found, and, although the 
advance guard marched into Krasnoje in view of them 
all, they still hoped to capture the corps that followed, 
and awaited them with the greatest impatience. 



During the whole of the following morning not a 
single Frenchman was to be seen on the Smolensk road. 
About three o'clock the Cossacks reported that the Vice- 
roy was coming from Rjawka in heavy columns. 

Miloradowitsch drew up a corps of Infantry and an- 
other of Cavalry across the line of march, and parallel 
with the road he placed Rajewski, who at that time com- 
manded only a division. 

When the Viceroy saw himself cut off from Krasnoje 
he drew up his corps in line of battle. It was accom- 
panied by masses of unarmed soldiers, cavalrymen with- 
out horses, artillerymen without guns. The Artillery had 
lagged behind, and been attacked near the River Wopp by 
the Cossacks, so that, altogether, only about seventeen 
guns at that time were available. 

The battle was unequal, and did not last long. The 
French were driven out of all their positions, and only a 
few, with the Viceroy at their head, managed to escape 
into Krasnoje. The Grenadiers with shouldered mus- 
kets came out of the wood in which they were concealed, 
shouting " Hurrah ! " Dragging their feet with difficulty 
through the snow, they attacked the enemy with so much 
determination that the great column laid down its arms 
and surrendered. 

Nevertheless, the action was not completely finished on 
that day, and a yet fiercer struggle was expected to take 
place on November 5th. 

Napoleon then marched out of Krasnoje to join Da- 
vout, who was to come from Smolensk. He walked at 
the head of the Old Guard, in his fur cloak lined with 
sable, his sable cap, and lined boots, carrying his birch 
stick in his hand. He was going back deeper into 
Russia, and on a remark being made regarding the danger 
to which he exposed himself with so weak a force, op- 
posed by the Russian army, he replied : " I have played 
at being Emperor long enough, it is time for me to be 
General once more ! " 



Recognizing that Davout could not join him without 
great loss while the Russians held the road, he determ- 
ined to attack the main army, in the hope that the cau- 
tious Kutusoff would have recalled Miloradowitsch, thus 
giving the First Corps a chance of forcing its way 
through. This almost turned out to be the case. Milo- 
radowitsch was compelled nolens volens to let the main 
portion of the Marshal's detachment pass through and 
join Napoleon. He attacked only the rear guard, tak- 
ing about seven thousand men prisoners, together with 
twenty-eight guns. 

Prince Kutusoff, who showed so much prudence — 
many called it cowardice — was true to his policy. After 
he had personally inspected the position of the French 
before Krasnoje, and had firmly convinced himself that 
Napoleon was in command, he confirmed the orders al- 
ready given, not to drive the enemy to bay, as in that 
case the Russian losses might be very heavy. He held 
to the opinion that the whole army must be compelled 
to leave the country, and not a remnant, that there was 
no object to be gained by incurring a great loss of life. 
The enemy's army, he thought, must of necessity be 
destroyed through cold, hunger, and the other hardships 
attendant upon a winter campaign, and when crossing 
the Beresina under the Russian guns would be obliged 
to lay down their arms. 

Being on the left of his company, Semen's son had 
often to charge at the point of the bayonet. He was often 
under a heavy artillery fire, and met death face to face. 

He saw many awful sights : the whole country strewn 
with dead and dying, ammunition cases, hospital carts, 
guns, muskets, pistols, drums, breastplates, ramrods, bay- 
onets, swords, carriages and phaetons from Moscow (the 
last-named being especial favorites with the French) lay 
heaped together, besides horses with bowels protruding 
and abdomens gaping, into which the enemy crept for 
warmth. The French wrapped themselves up in priest's 
vestments or women's clothes to guard against the cold, 



fastened straw round their legs and covered their heads 
with women's caps, Jews' hats, or woven cane. 

However greatly the Russians may have suffered, their 
condition was not to be compared with that of the enemy. 
It is sufficient to mention that the French ate those of 
their compatriots who succumbed through hunger, roast- 
ing them at the bivouac fires. 

The Russian Generals insisted in their orders on char- 
ity and brotherly love. The soldiers, indeed, could not 
fail to be moved to compassion toward the victims of such 
terrible misfortunes. Many a time did they succor the 
starving French, moving about like mere ghosts, by feed- 
ing and warming them. 

Soon, however, Ivan's feelings received a terrible 
shock; in the snow, near the road, his company found 
the bodies of three peasants who had been shot. One of 
the bodies was that of an old man. A single glance was 
sufficient — he recognized his father and two of the vil- 
lagers. They lay there, buried in the snow, with wounds 
in their breasts and in their heads. There was no time 
for mourning, a grave was quickly dug and the three 
victims were buried. From that time forward Ivan had 
less compassion for the enemy, and on the following day, 
when about to attack Ney's column, Miloradowitsch gal- 
loped up to his men, and said : " There are the French, I 
make you a present of them ! " he and his companions 
waded through the deep snow, threw themselves on the 
enemy, and terribly avenged the death of his father. 

When, later, he returned to his village, he related how 
he had found the " old man " and his companions, with 
bullet holes in their breasts and heads, gnawed by dogs. 
The whole village celebrated Mass for the dead, the 
musket of the slain Starost being hung up in the church. 
Either the musket was of no value in the eyes of the 
French, or they had forgotten it ; in any case, it was found 
in the spot where the execution took place, and for many 
a day was an object of great interest, not only to the peas- 
ants, but to the magistrates, who looked upon it as a 



monument of the deeds of valour performed by the mur- 
dered Mayor. 

The martyrdom of Semen and his heroic deeds gave 
rise to many legendary stories. There were even eye- 
witnesses who related how the Starost had slain a large 
number of Frenchmen before being overpowered, and his 
grandchildren did not hesitate to relate that the old hero 
had not had time " to load and pull the trigger " ; the 
number of those whom he killed it was impossible to 


In the Ouspensky Cathedral 
H. 42}i in,, W. 51 in. 

All contemporaries agree in stating that the churches 
on the line of march of the Grande Armee were used as 
stables. On the portico of the cathedral of Malo-Iarosla- 
vetz one could read written in charcoal, " Stable of the 
General Guilleminot." 

" The Churches," says Labaume, " which as buildings 
suffered least through the conflagration, were used as 
barracks or stables. The neighing of horses and the hor- 
rible blasphemies of the troops took the place of the 
sacred hymns whose melody had once echoed through 
these holy aisles." 

Rene Bourgeois briefly remarks that the cavalry took 
all the churches that were spared by the fire. According 
to the author of The Journal of the War, the rich churches 
of Viazma were all devastated and pillaged. Against 
the exterior walls of the Cathedral of the Assumption, 
in the enclosure of the Kremlin, were established forges, 
on which the French melted gold and silver attached to 
the sacred statues or stolen from the church. The figures 
of the results of these depredations were found inscribed 
in chalk in the emperor's stall, 365 pouds of silver and 
18 pouds of gold (a poud equals 35 pounds). 



Behind the altar of the Cathedral of I'Archangelsk, 
also at the Kremlin, a church consecrated by the tombs 
of the Czars, a French cantaniere had established her 
living room. She cooked near the window, dressed in 
a rich chasuble. Everywhere were piled up sacks of hay, 
corn, potatoes and barrels of salted provisions, which 
made the nave a vast store house. 

" Everything in the Cathedral," says Prince Schac- 
howski, who was among the first to return to Moscow 
after its evacuation, " had been destroyed or stolen. The 
Rakha of the Holy Metropolitan Philip was not to be 
found; we gathered together the remains of his relics 
and laid them on a small bare side-altar." 

The coffin covering the remains of the Metropolitan 
Peter was completely broken up, the lid torn asunder, 
and the grave dug up. In the Cathedral, from the cupola 
downwards, with the exception of the Rakha of Saint 
Jonas, not a single piece of metal, not a vestment was 
left behind. The wooden monuments of the coffins of 
the Archpriests of Moscow were stripped, but only one 
of them was cut up, namely, that of the Patriarch Herm- 

Prince Schachowski believes that the insults shown to 
the memory of the great patriot of the popular move- 
ment of 1612 prove their perpetration by the Poles. 

" On arriving at Moscow," says an eye witness, " I 
found that after the departure of the French, the relics 
of the saints were found removed from their settings 
and dispersed, and many of the holy martyrs had limbs 
pulled off; that the head of Tzarevitch Dmitry was cut 
off, and the remains of the Metropolitan Alexis had com- 
pletely disappeared." The altars everywhere had been 
upset to be transformed into tables. The ikons served 
them for targets and wood for burning. Church vest- 
ments were seen everywhere on the backs of the soldiers. 
The Monastery Tchoudow and the Cathedral of the An- 
nunciation were not spared any more than the Assump- 
tion, where the Czars were crowned, and where the 



soldiers, it is said, in the presence of Napoleon, had not 
only taken off the ornaments from the large ikons of 
the saints, but destroyed them and left nothing but 
empty spaces. Vases of gold and silver, jewels and 
objects of art that the clergy had been imprudent enough 
to leave in the cathedral, the ecclesiastics beheld pillaged 
under their eyes. Among other things that disappeared 
was the celebrated candle-sticks, in silver, given by Boy- 
ard Morosow during the reign of Alexis Michailovitch, 
which was marvelous in its execution. Everything, even 
to the evangels and the church books were burned in 
order to separate from them the precious metals. 

In the choir of the Cathedral of Kazan, a dead horse 
was deposited in the place of the destroyed tabernacle. 
Antique furniture, broken utensils, the remains of the 
pillaging of the Muscovite palaces, were spread about 
in the most of the churches. Even the manikins and lay 
figures from the Museum of Armor were found grouped 
as a sign of mockery in derisive attitudes. 

Napoleon, wishing to see the archepiscopal Russian 
service compelled a priest of inferior rank to hold a 
service in Ouspensky-Sobor ; for this he presented him 
with a " Kamilawka," or cap, worn by the secular priest- 
hood. He ordered the big cross taken down from the 
tower of Ivan le Grand, about six metres high and plated 
with silvergilt, as he wished to put it on the dome of the 
Invalides in Paris, but in the desperation of the retreat, 
this cross was thrown, according to some into Lake Sem- 
lewo, according to others, it went near to Wilna, whence 
it was returned to Moscow, and restored to its place. 
Into this lake they threw so much booty from the pillage 
of Moscow, that it would be interesting to know if any 
search has been made at any time in the waters along 
the route. 



The Partisans: Let them come 

H. 56 in., W. 6oy2 in. 

Simon Archipovitch in 18 12 was starost (mayor) in 
a village of the government of Smolensk in the district 
of Krasnoie, about forty verstes (7 miles) from the high- 
road. On their march towards Moscow, the men and the 
horses of the Grande Armee found in the villages and 
fields along the route what was necessary for their sub- 
sistance, so that the foraging parties did not make their 
way far into the interior. The mayor, Simon, had already 
hidden in the forest all that he had, with the determina- 
tion to take refuge there with the peasants, but seeing 
no one and regaining courage he returned to his home 
with all his family. But soon marauding parties appeared 
demanding bread, milk, etc., and showed a very cruel 
spirit to all the peasants who fell into their hands. The 
mayor and his fellow villagers longed to retaliate but 
they refrained, not wishing the ill-will of the French, 
who had spread the rumor of the speedy and complete 
occupation of Smolensk and its government, which hence- 
forth would not belong to Russia, and of the complete 
emancipation of the serfs in that part of the empire. 
The reports excited such an agitation in the minds of the 
peasants that there were men who were ready to help 
the march of the invader by bringing back all that they 
had hidden in the form of provisions, forage, etc., and 
in some districts the peasants were seen trespassing on 
the domains of their landlords and plundering their 
houses. It was said that the Bishop of Moguileff and 
his clergy had ordered public prayers in the churches 
in which the name of the Emperor Napoleon was sub- 
stituted for that of Czar Alexander. The trouble became 
so serious that in some districts the enemies were given 
a hospitable reception and the soldiers were presented 
with bread and salt. Among the peasants discontent was 



widespread, and Simon remarked that the more the 
French advanced the more the revolt gained ground 
and the more often appeared, though still a little timid, 
the reprisals against the land owners and their stewards. 
Even his own orders were unwillingly obeyed. From all 
sides, however, irritating news was brought. The French 
were carrying off everything they could lay their hands 
on. They encamped in the fields, trampled down the 
newly sown seed and treated the inhabitants in the most 
cruel manner. The women and young girls were pursued, 
outraged, and even assassinated. Men and children met 
the same fate. It was said that the churches were turned 
into barracks, powder magazines, stables and slaughter 
houses, and that the silver settings were torn off the 
pictures of the saints and the holy images were thrown 
into the streets, where they served as firewood, while the 
altars were turned into tables and benches. The invaders 
desecrated everything, the sacred vessels and the church 
vestments, profanations horrible and impious in the high- 
est degree in the public mind. 

It was impossible to disbelieve the news, and it provoked 
terrible excitement among the peasants, destroying the 
influence of those who had urged patience, under the 
belief that Napoleon would free them. A peasant who 
escaped from Moscow related that want of discipline 
was so prevalent in the French army that the superior 
officers had lost all authority. The troops drank, plun- 
dered and killed. In the Kremlin, on the altar of the 
Archangelski Cathedral, they erected a kitchen. Horses 
were stationed in the Upenski Cathedral. The insults 
and desecration were indescribable. Two priests were 
killed in the Andronjef Monastery. The peasant him- 
self saw a target placed upon the Red Gate composed 
entirely of pictures of Saints. The vestments of a priest 
and the chaplet of a bride had been taken out of the 
Voznessenki Monastery and put upon a tame bear, which 
had been made to dance. The inhabitants had been tor- 
tured in every imaginable way, and many had seen the 



Princes Wolkonski, Lopuchin, and Galizyn, laden with 
sacks, and driven along by the French with shouts of 
" Alio ! " " Alio ! " {Allans! Allans!) On his way from 
Moscow he had heard that the people were seeking 
now to avenge themselves ; that large parties of peasants 
had flocked to the battlefield of Borodino to pick up 
muskets, swords, and all kinds of weapons for despatch- 
ing the French, whom they might chance to meet on the 
roads, in the woods, or villages. 

Simon summoned his council under the authority of 
the priest, and it was determined to ask the superior 
authorities if the murder of a Frenchman would be pun- 
ished by the Czar; if not, they would come together and 
with the assistance of God defend their villages. The 
arrival of an officer of Figner's Cossacks, come from a 
reconnaissance with some men in the neighborhood of 
Moscow, put an end to all hesitation. He told the peas- 
ants not only would the murder of a Frenchman not be 
regarded as a crime, but it would be credited on the 
contrary as a laudable service. He announced, moreover, 
that Napoleon had very little time longer in Moscow, as 
Kutusoff held him there as in a trap. A corps of volun- 
teers was soon formed, Simon being given command. 
At first there was some difficulty with the young men, 
who refused to accept so old a chief under the belief that 
he would not act with enough firmness and audacity, but 
order was restored spontaneously and promptly when 
they perceived that this so-called lack of audacity was 
only good tactics. 

When Simon found himself in the presence of a 
superior troop he never risked his men. He tried to get 
in touch with some other detachment or with the Cos- 
sacks, but if the affair gave some promise of success the 
mayor knew how to exhibit the necessary energy and 
determination. Having surprised, in a village near his 
own, a detachment which, after having shot some of the 
peasants on the porch of the church, were resting unsus- 
piciously in a hut, he had the hut silently sealed up by 



his men, then the exits barricaded and fagots brought, 
he set fire to the house and burnt the marauders alive. 
Simon was not naturally cruel. Among the bodies of 
partisans of the neighborhood we are told of chiefs who, 
not satisfied with the different punishments already- 
known which they could inflict on their prisoners, in- 
vented new ways of making them suffer and die, the 
others appearing to them too gentle in comparison with 
the crimes of the invading horde. It is said that the 
chief of the Cossacks, Figner, often put the French pris- 
oners in line and shot them through the head one by one. 
This mutual ferocity was terrible and went so far that 
some of the French being attacked and resuming the 
offensive, soaked in oil the partisans they were able to 
capture and warmed themselves at this new kind of bon- 
fire; on other occasions they skinned alive the peasants 
who were found with arms in their hands. Simon made 
reprisals, but never shot without necessity, especially 
soldiers without arms. He sent his prisoners to the civil 
authorities of his district, thus washing his hands of them. 
He was very severe with his own men, and one of them 
having sold some provisions to the enemy was judged, 
condemned and shot, with the consent of the village priest. 
The volunteers were not all armed in the same manner; 
some had old muskets of a style dating at least in the 
previous century ; others had excellent French guns which 
had been taken from the dead and prisoners; many 
had but bayonets and shoulder belts taken from the 
enemy; others had only pikes or poles to which scythes 
had been fastened. It was not rare to see among the 
volunteers some old priest with cross in hand endeavor- 
ing to encourage the men and inspire them with more 
firmness and hardihood. A discharged soldier assisted 
Simon in mounting his sentries who should signal the 
approach of the enemy. A bell was rung and the parti- 
sans on foot or on horseback ran to an appointed place 
of meeting. There were many classes of people among 
.the volunteers. A village deacon among others on horse- 



back guarded the outskirts of the village, especially at 
night, letting no one pass without subjecting him to a 
serious and penetrating inspection, although he had only 
one eye. Another man, Fedka, was also noted for his 
courage. He was always in the front ranks with his 
long red hair and beard. On the whole, the corps of 
Mayor Simon, consisting of perhaps a hundred mem- 
bers, assisted some fifteen hundred Frenchmen into the 
next world and took nearly three thousand prisoners. 


Bad News from France 
H. 60 in., W. 46 in. 

On Tuesday, the 6th of November, 18 12, the Russian 
winter made its real appearance in the form of a violent 
snowstorm. On this day Count Daru accompanied by 
his staff went in haste to the Emperor, and held a 
mysterious conference with him, which naturally aroused 
the already uneasy attention of the Emperor's staff. 
This was the first courier that had arrived for six days. 
It did not take long to transpire that he was the bearer 
of bad news from France. It related to the conspiracy 
of Mallet, a General heretofore unknown, who had just 
missed success in carrying off the power by means of 
false dispatches about the ruin of the Grande Armee and 
the disappearance of the Emperor. The attempt had 
accidentally failed. A part of the plan of Mallet had 
succeeded, and if Fouche had allowed himself to be 
arrested, the Empire were lost! The Emperor learned 
at the same moment of the crime and the punishment of 
the guilty. He disguised his emotion and contented 
himself by saying to Daru, " We should have been in 
fine case if we had remained in Moscow ! " 

When in the presence of the army Napoleon showed 
neither fear nor uneasiness, but his anxiety became all 



the more apparent when he found himself alone with his 
immediate staff. He then displayed astonishment, anger 
and rage. But when quite alone with the thoughts which 
for a long time past had permitted him no rest, his mind 
was filled with deep sorrow. 

What would Europe say? How it would rejoice at the insta- 
bility of his much-vaunted new institutions, and at the want of 
civil courage in those persons who were the props of his State. 
Was it possible that the era of revolutions and turmoils in 
France was not yet at an end ! Was it possible that his relation- 
ship to the imperial House for which he had made such great 
sacrifices, counted for nothing ! Was his son, the hope and sup- 
port of his country, of so little importance that he was forgotten 
in the moment of danger ! 

The Headquarters were encamped near the Post Office, 
and the Emperor occupied a small village church sur- 
rounded by a wall. The field bed, with the articles of 
his toilet, harmonized badly with the ornaments of the 
old church, the gilt Slavonic decorations, the pictures of 
Christ, the Virgin and Saints, which, gloomily, full of 
reproach, looked on at the unusual preparations made for 
the reception of an intruder who forced himself upon 
them with such scant courtesy. The picture of Christ, as 
well as all the other paintings, was hacked and scratched 
and desecrated in every possible manner by the soldiery ! 
One of the eyes of the figure remained untouched, and 
seemed to pass judgment on the scenes around Him. . . 

The day was closing; many of the older Generals 
waited for an opportunity of gaining audience of the 
Emperor; but, without a summons they did not dare 
intrude. A number of important documents lying on the 
table awaited his inspection, and yet Napoleon sat im- 
movable, buried in deep thought, holding in a convulsive 
grasp the report brought from Paris. 

" I am no longer wanted in France ! " he pondered. " Good, 
let them elect another, we shall see if he can manage better." 

And how had it come to this ! 

What had become of Alexander? What had rendered this 
good-natured man so bitter? It is true that Narbon had already 
told him in Dresden, after his return from Wilna, that the Tsar, 
who was neither weak nor boastful, was not to be moved from 



any resolution upon which he had determined; but still it was 
difficult to explain the hatred expressed in all Alexander's pro- 
clamations and manifestos. 

Even at the very beginning of the campaign they had to con- 
ceal those Russian manifestos from the army, charged as they 
were with the most deliberate and venomous insults against the 
person of the Emperor. The soldiers had to be deceived, and the 
Russian army represented to them as demoralized, ready at any 
moment to take to fhght. They had to be amused with the tale 
that the Emperor of Russia would soon be murdered by his dis- 
satisfied subjects, and with the rumor that he was coming as a 
fugitive, begging the Senate for aid and pardon for his flight. In 
the meanwhile Napoleon himself would have given much to be 
able to enter into immediate and direct relations with this fugitive. 
How bitterly he now repented that he had so contemptuously 
rejected Alexander's last efforts to preserve the peace — the 
sending of General Balascheff as delegate, the importance of 
which he had not grasped. This was evidently Alexander's last 
word of peace and friendship before the opening of this most 
deadly struggle. Thereafter the Russian Emperor had not only 
imposed silence upon himself, refusing to make any advances, 
but he would not even vouchsafe a reply. 

As Napoleon could not make the first overtures in person, he 
had endeavored to open up negotiations through Berthier, who 
wrote to Barclay de Tolly : " The Emperor has commissioned me 
to beg you to communicate the expression of his highest regard to 
the Emperor Alexander. Tell him that neither the vicissitudes of 
war, nor anything else, can ever impair the sentiments of personal 
friendship which he feels for him." He then remembered how he 
had again tempted his fortune in Moscow, when he ordered the 
unfortunate Tutolmin to appear before him, and the poor old man 
had lost his reason through terror. Napoleon had made use of 
much logic to convince this official that a peace could easily be 
concluded if no intriguers came between him and Alexander, and 
this he begged him specially to hint at in his report. The old 
man promised everything possible and impossible in order to 
escape speedily from the outbursts of Imperial rage, which, 
against Napoleon's will, were manifest during the interview. 

Still more unpleasant was the recollection of his attempt to 
force an embassy of peace on Jakowleff, a Russian nobleman 
seized while trying to escape from Moscow. For two hours he 
explained his views and intentions to this strange person, whom 
his soldiers had plundered, and who presented himself before 
Napoleon in the dress of his valet. This improvised ambassador 
had certainly pledged his word to deliver the letter in person to 



the Tsar, though he made promises which he could not fulfil, im- 
pelled thereto by fear and by the hope of obtaining his liberty. 

Ah ! what a pity ! Napoleon felt that his arguments were 
powerful, that had they but come to Alexander's ears he would 
certainly have admitted their force. " If Alexander will only 
express a wish to arrange terms," he said, " I am ready to listen 
to him; I will sign peace in Moscow, as I have signed it in 
Vienna and in Berlin. ... I did not come here to remain. It 
was not necessary for me to come here, and I should not have 
come had I not been compelled. The field of battle, on which 
the war was to be decided, was in Lithuania; why has it to be 
carried into the very heart of the country. If a single word had 
been uttered by Alexander, I should have halted at the gates of 
Moscow, bivouacked my army, without even entering the sub- 
urbs, and declared Moscow to be a free city! I waited several 
hours for his word, and must openly admit that I desired it. The 
first advance of Alexander's part would have proved to me that 
in the depths of his heart there still lay some affection for me. 
I should have prized it, and peace woud have been concluded 
between us without any intermediary. He need only have said, 
as in Tilsit, that he had been, as far as I was concerned, greatly 
deceived by others, and all would have been immediately for- 
gotten ! " 

Was it possible that such generous words and intentions could 
find no echo in Alexander's heart ! Yet he had received no 
answer to the letter sent through Jakowleff, and he now found 
the recollections of these letters, and all of these outbursts before 
men of no position, with no pretense to such intimacy, very 

And again his former intimacy with Alexander recurred to 
his memory. He saw the figure of this young enthusiast as he had 
known him in Tilsit: they had sworn friendship, and endeavored 
to surpass each other in complaisance. Alexander submitted will- 
ingly to Napoleon's superiority of mind, experience, and genius, 
and loudly declared that the " friendship of a great man was a 
gift of the gods." Had anything happened since then that could 
not be set right by mutual concessions and treaties ! What had 
induced him to enter upon this war against the advice of his best 
friends, against the voice of his own conscience, and against the 
interests of France, which, according to his own candid opinion, 
was not in a fit state to carry on at the same time two such 
undertakings as the Spanish and Russian campaigns! 

In vain did he seek for some vital interest of State which 
would have rendered it politic to throw the sword into the balance. 
In his own remembrance there only existed two grounds. The 
one was far distant, the almost forgotten insult which had been 



offered to him when, as a First- Lieutenant, he had been refused 
admission into the Russian service. Vainly had he sought to 
prove to the Commander of the Russian Mediterranean expedition 
that, as a Captain in the National Guard, he was entitled to expect 
the rank of Major in the newly- formed Russian army. His re- 
quest was refused — so much the worse for the Russians. The 
second was an insult of a more recent date, a deadly, personal 
insult, the rejection of his suit. The hand of Princess Anna had 
been refused to him. Napoleon, and, as if purposely, bestowed 
soon afterwards on a petty German Prince! Refused to him, 
who was ready to make all political and family concessions, who 
had explicitly declared that even the difference in belief would 
prove no obstacle ! No suitable reply was returned ; either an 
immediate agreement with his wishes, or a refusal, and he in- 
sisted on an answer within forty-eight hours ! How could he act 
otherwise? He could not play at being lovesick, nor pay court 
to the Princess, nor could he be expected to beg the acceptance 
of his suit as an alms. That would be unworthy of him, not 
only as a man, but also as Emperor of the French, as a ruler 
of the West. He showed foresight only in his demand for an 
immediate answer, for, instead of a definite reply, matters dragged 
on until finally it became clear to him that either Alexander did 
not desire the marriage, or was not the head of his own family. 
Then, in society, people began to whisper and smile — this was 
a terrible humiliation. 

Was this, then, in truth the direct and immediate cause of the 
war! Would these inhuman butcheries have been avoided had 
Anna been his wife and settled down in the Tuilleries ! Did he 
allow self-love and pride to obtain so great a mastery over him! 

And to these questions his conscience answered Yes ! Yes ! 

Had he no other cause of complaint? No. 

Did there exist between the two countries any irreconcilable 
differences, any misunderstandings admitting of no solution? 
No ! The non-observance of certain articles in treaties, the ques- 
tion of English goods, together with his violent polemics with 
Alexander, were but mere pretences .... 

These reflections were indeed terrible ! . . . . 

A noise at the door of the church made him start up 
and collect himself. Berthier, bearing dispatches, entered 
unannounced, again running the risk of insult from his 
master, unhinged by the effect of these mortifying re- 
collections. But, contrary to all expectations, Napoleon 
greeted the Chief of the Staff most amiably. He was 
glad of company, to be free from his terrible mental 
sufferings and qualms of conscience. 



A Sea of Fire 

H. 22 in., W. 29 in. 

On the Red Square (in front of the Kremlin) the 
guard house and several smaller constructions were burn- 
ing. Zamoskvoretchie, on the other side of the river, 
was a sea of flame ; the sight was extraordinary : for 
four times twenty-four hours the nights were as bright 
as day. The streets on fire were covered with long can- 
opies of flame: fourteen thousand houses were burned to 
ashes . . . 

Peace at any Price! 

H. 35^ in., W. 4iy2 in. 

" I wish for peace, I must have peace without fail ! 
Only save my honor ! " were Napoleon's instruction to 
General Lauriston, when sending him to the Russian 
camp. Kutusoff and the headquarters deceived the 
French General with assurances of the desire for peace 
among the whole Russian army, which gave occasion for 
Napoleon to say to his Marshals and Generals, who were 
summoned to hear this joyful news : " I alone knew the 
character of the Russians and their Emperor — on the 
day that my letter arrives in St. Petersburg, the town 
will be illuminated ! " 


Before Moscow: Awaiting the Deputation of the 

H. 52 in., W. 415^ in. 

The battle being won at Borodino, more properly, the 
Russian army being thrown out of the way, fatigued 



and still ill, Napoleon went towards Moscow in a car- 
riage, but he rode on horseback the last section, ad- 
vancing with prudence, reconnoitering with the cavalry 
surrounding hedges, ravines and crossroads. Another 
battle was looked for. Very often they encountered earth- 
works commenced in haste and abandoned. Nowhere 
was the least resistance made. There remained to be 
crossed the last hill, called " The Hill of Salutation," 
because from its summit one sees the sacred city, and 
before entering it, the Russian pilgrims there perform 
their first devotions. The sun illuminated the roofs and 
the golden cupolas of the immense city. 

It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon when the French 
advance guard showed itself on the hills, and before this 
magnificent panorama they raised a joyful shout of 
" Moscow, Moscow ! " Behind them the soldiers rushed 
forward in disorder, and the whole army repeated 
" Moscow, Moscow ! " with the same enthusiasm with 
which sailors fatigued by a long and trying sea voyage 
cry out " Land, Land ! " Napoleon stopped, filled with 
emotion and delight, and could not repress an exclamation 
of joy. The Generals, whose attitude since Borodino 
had been somewhat cold, forgot their resentment and 
came near to the Emperor; the marvelous city was their 
captive at their feet. Carried away by such complete 
success, full of hope at the news which was circulating 
of the arrival of a Russian envoy, they forgot their dis- 
content and saluted once more the star of the Emperor, 
which shortly before they had supposed obscured. Napo- 
leon himself could not help crying : " Here it is, the 
famous city ; it was time ! " Soon, however, the warrior 
showed signs of great uneasiness. No keys were sur- 
rendered with due respect to his rank, nor was he met 
with the accustomed prayers of the citizens for clemency 
and mercy such as he was wont to receive in the other 
capitals of Europe. His impatience was accentuated by 
the fact that an hour previous he had ordered his General, 
Count Durosnel, to push on to Moscow to organize the 



demonstrations. He did not know the Moscovites had 
abandoned the city. Not only the officials but the in- 
habitants had fled in a mass, so that his conquest was 
empty. No one dared to tell him. When at last he 
became aware of the facts, he could not believe this total 
abandonment of the city, and still hoped that a deputation 
of some kind would appear and relieve him from the 
awkward situation in which he was placed in the eyes 
of his army, all Europe and himself. They gathered to- 
gether in haste a few foreign dealers, added a few of the 
lower classes, and presented them to Napoleon. The state 
of the poor wretches was pitiable. They were far from 
thinking of welcoming the conqueror. They had eyes 
only for his face and for the splendor of his staff. It 
was necessary to leave to another occasion the speech 
to the Boyars with all the grandiloquent expressions pre- 
pared for the occasion, whose echo was to resound 
throughout the globe. When an unhappy French printer, 
as spokesman of this so-called deputation, had enough 
courage to mutter a few words, he had the gentle word 
" Imbecile " thrown at him by the Emperor. 

A Russian prisoner, who was present at the scenes, 
testifies to the stupor of Napoleon at the news of the 
abandonment of Moscow. " He lost for an instant all 
consciousness. Then he became nervous and rubbed his 
nose, took off and put on his gloves, pullecj out his 
handkerchief which he wrung between his hands, walked 
up and down with hasty footsteps, stopped all of a 
sudden, and alone appeared much agitated in the midst 
of his Generals, who remained like statues, not even 
daring to move." 

Here then is the result of several months of a difficult 
campaign, mercilessly conducted, a farce from which 
he, the Emperor, turned away, lest he should add ridicule 
to his profound mistake. His hope of separating Alex- 
ander from his Boyars and opposing Moscow to St. 
Petersburg, vanished. He mounted his horse and de- 
parted at a gallop for a suburb of the city. 



H. 5954 in., W. 79^ in. 

Famine was not long in appearing after the departure 
from Moscow and made itself felt among the men and 
the horses, and as the country had been devastated all 
along the road during the advance, the army corps found 
itself obliged to provision itself by sending foragers afar 
and accompanying them not only by cavalry, but also 
by infantry, and often by artillery. The village of Simon 
Arkipovitch was empty all the week excepting on Sunday, 
when the peasants still met in their devastated churches. 
One of these Sundays, a watch, who was in the tower, 
sounded the warning bell at the moment the mayor and his 
people were coming out from service. They only had time 
to seize their arms, but they were already surrounded by 
a detachment of French Hussars. Semen, surprised, did 
not know whether he had fired off a shot or not in the 
melee. Completely dazed, a sharp pain brought him to 
consciousness as he felt his bones cracking while they 
fastened his hands behind his back with his own sash. One 
of those who were binding him had blood on his cheek. 
" I must have done that," thought Semen, " he is so 
anxious about me." The Frenchman was really enraged 
with the old man, and fastened his elbows together behind 
as if he were a horse in its collar, growling all the time, 
"Attends, mon vieux, tu vas voir." 

Semen understood nothing, he had been too badly 
beaten, his bones ached, and his head was dazed. As 
if in a fog he saw, besides himself, three other peasants 
had been taken prisoners. The red-headed Fedka, the 
intrepid hunter of the French, dumb but angry; the in- 
dignant narrator of the profanations of Moscow, Grigory 
Tolcatchef, groaning as much now as he had talked 
before; and the lame Jeremka, saddler, blacksmith and 



armorer for the repairs of the pikes and sabres of his 
brothers-in-arms. Semen led the march, courageous as 
always. Fedka followed him closely, avoiding by his 
agility in walking and getting over obstacles, the blows 
of the sword or the butt end of the musket, freely be- 
stowed upon the infirm Geremka, whom the soldiers 
encouraged to rouse himself by blows of feet and fist, 
the unhappy man leaving behind him on the snow a trail 
of blood. As for Grigory, in spite of his strength, he 
had been so severely beaten that he stumbled like a 
drunken man. So, tired of hauling him along, the soldiers 
consulted together, and one of them fired a gun into 
his ear. At the sound. Semen and his companions under- 
stood what was happening, but they did not dare even 
to turn their heads to give their comrade a farewell look. 
They marched this way for thirty or forty verstes. All 
of a sudden a stream of men accoutred in the most 
peculiar manner, with women's garments, legs wrapped 
up in rags, dirty faces, unshaven and swollen by the cold, 
seemed to drag themselves along, infantry, cavalry, all 
mixed up, in the midst of carts, wagons and sleds. This 
was on the main road from Moscow to Smolensk. By 
the side of the road, a group of better dressed men were 
warming themselves and talking near the fire. " Offi- 
cers," thought Semen, Among them, with his back to 
the fire, was a short, fat man, with a fur hat and a 
green velvet overcoat, on which sparkled an order; he 
held with eagerness his hands towards the flames ... "It 
is he," continued Semen, and as the escort stopped, with 
a military salute, he had a presentiment that he was in 
the presence of the great chief, and involuntarily he 
knelt down and was followed by the others. One of the 
soldiers was already off his horse and with his hand 
to his hat was making his report. At this moment fear 
overcame Semen. He bowed his head and commended 
himself in a fervent prayer to Christ, the Mother and 
the Saints. Fedka had also understood, but he only stared 
more fixedly at the little man, saying to himself, " What 



assurance, a manikin, that one could crush Hke an insect 
on his nail." Napoleon turned towards the hussar a 
weared and indifferent face, and murmured, " Arms in 
their hands?" "Yes, sir." "All of them?" "Yes, 
sir." " Shot." That was all. 

Semen came to himself and raised his head on being 
shaken and compelled to stand on his feet. All were 
excited; a carriage was driven up for the fat man; he 
got in, together with another General wearing the mantle 
of a Russian Cossack, and drove away ; the others fol- 
lowed, some on horseback, some in carriages. 

" It was really he, brothers," whispered Fedka, greatly 
impressed, but it was only for a short time. By means 
of halters passed round their bodies the prisoners were 
fastened to the trunks of willow trees, at the foot of 
one of which, while warming himself, the Emperor had 
pronounced their doom. A bullet in the head of each 
one terminated the partisans. Semen Arkipovitch and 
Jeremka were dead, their heads falling on their breasts; 
it was necessary to dispatch Fedka. 

The clothing of the victims became the property of 
the hussars : the fine Sunday caftan of the mayor fell to 
the wounded soldier. The rest divided the sheep skins 
of Fedka and Jeremka. The fear of the stragglers did 
not permit even the aged companion of the pious and 
courageous mayor to look for and find the body of her 


In the Kremlin: The Conflagration 

H. 51 in., W. 41^ in. 

The conflagration at Moscow began during the night 
which followed the evacuation of the city by the Rus- 


sians. When the emperor entered the Kremlin, the drug- 
stores, the oil shops, and the quarters of Zariadie and 
Baltschouk were already burned. The Bazaar of the 
Red Square was taking fire. Marshal Mortier, if he 
did not entirely stop the conflagration, at least by his 
efforts preserved the Kremlin, but the following days 
the flames extended themselves- with such rapidity that 
the part of the town, Zamoskvoretchie, situated back of 
the river was enveloped. 

" For four successive nights," says an eye-witness, 
" one could go without candles, because it was as light 
as day." A wind from the northeast blew the fire again 
towards the Kremlin, in which, as though on purpose, 
an artillery station had been established containing great 
quantities of powder. It is easy to understand what 
anxiety reigned in the palace. 

The fire in the district behind the Moskwa, which 
lay straight in front of the palace, had all the appearance 
of a tempestuous sea of flame and produced an extra- 
ordinary impression. Napoleon could find no rest, he 
paced through the various rooms of the palace with 
mighty strides, his every movement betrayed extreme un- 
easiness. He endeavored to view the fire from the walls 
of the Kremlin, but the heat of the flames compelled 
him to return to his apartment; his face was red and 
covered with perspiration. 

In his bulletin, Napoleon affirms that the preparation 
of the conflagration of Moscow should be credited to 
Rostopchin, but that is completely false. As half the 
people remaining in Moscow were composed of ragamuf- 
fins, it is not impossible that they undertook the task of 
propagating the fire, but there was no preconceived plan 
to burn the city. If on one side many Russians were of 
the opinion that it was better to burn their goods and 
chattels than to abandon them to the enemy, and so set 
fire themselves to their houses, on the other hand the 
French soldiers went about seeking for plunder with 
burning torches and pine-knots, setting fire to piles of 



wood in the court-yards without taking the sHghtest pre- 
cautionary measures. In such circumstances it is not 
surprising that three- fourths of the wooden-built town 
should take fire and burn. The terror of Napoleon at 
the sight of this gigantic conflagration must have been 
great. Having made great sacrifices to capture Moscow, 
with a desire to strike Russia to the heart, it was with 
death in his soul that he saw his prey escape him in 
smoke, and converted into piles of ruin about which the 
Russians themselves would henceforth concern themselves 
very little. The plunder of the city commenced with the 
first entry of the troops. The news that Moscow was 
full of treasure, which was being carried off on all sides, 
spread with lightning rapidity throughout the camp, and 
when the first marauders returned la'den with rum, wines, 
cognac, sugar, coffee, etc., it became impossible to keep 
the soldiers in the ranks. The kettles were left without 
fire or cooks. Those that were sent to hunt up water 
and wood did not return. The sentries even left their 
posts. The booty was so rich that the officers them- 
selves gave way to temptation. 

It was above all the Germans of the Confederation of 
the Rhine and the Poles who showed themselves most 
grasping. They tore from the women their shawls and 
their silks, their dresses even. They took their ear-rings, 
rings and watches. The Bavarians and the Wurtem- 
burgers were the first to dig up the dead in the cem- 
eteries in order to rob them. They broke the statues 
and vases of marble. It was a rage for destruction. 

Napoleon decided to leave the palace, and he left by 
the same route by which he had entered. From the Stone 
Bridge he went to Arbat, lost his way, was nearly burned 
up and reached the village of Horoschevo with the great- 
est difficulty. He crossed the Moskowa on a pontoon 
bridge near the Waganka Cemetery and arrived in the 
evening at the Petrowsky Palace. 



Vive rEmpereur! Taking of the great Redoubt at 

H. 64^ in., W. 97>^ in. 

The battle was still. The French cuirassiers ended by 
taking the great redoubt, the trenches filled with dead 
and wounded. Napoleon proceeding leisurely over the 
battle field appears in the distance on a white horse. The 
soldiers salute him. A wounded man who has just had 
his limb amputated seizes his cut-off foot and raising it 
in the air calls with all his strength, " Long live the 
Emperor ! " 

On the Great Road: The Retreat 

H. 7iy2 in., W. ii9>4 in. 

Napoleon made the first part of his retreat in an 
excellent carriage, perfectly appointed for work as well 
as for repose. The vehicle was lined with furs. After 
Smolensk he went more frequently on foot, clad in a 
long velvet coat lined with sable and ornamented with 
gold frogs. He wore a fur cap with ear-flaps, and fur 
lined boots. The cold was intense. The newly fallen 
snow concealed the condition of the Smolensk road : 
carts, ammunition wagons, arms, bodies of horses and 
men, were piled one on another on both sides of the 
road. The officers of the staff marched in close rank 
behind the Emperor, silent and discouraged. The smile 
had disappeared from the lips of even the most zealous 
courtier. Napoleon walked some paces in front leaning 
on a birchen stick, sombre but inpenetrable. On the 
previous day he had an opportunity at Krasnoie of 



reviewing what was left of the best army in the world. 
He must have been greatly troubled, for through the 
whole night his attendants heard him lamenting aloud, 
and commiserating the state of his soldiers in the most 
heartrendering terms. 

From day to day the situation became more critical, 
the regiments melted away visibly and the men who re- 
mained under arms forgot all discipline. The personal 
prestige even of the Emperor was waning, and those 
on whose devotion he was still counting, as days went 
on manifested an indifference not far from hostility. 
On one occasion the Duke of Vincenzia was near one 
of the camp fires and wishing to use it for the Emperor, 
who was awaiting with his suite on the road, overheard 
such expressions by the soldiers that he advised the 
Emperor not to come near. Another time the wheels 
of a heavy cart passed over both legs of a wretched 
member of the Army Service Corps. Rolling about the 
snow in his agony, he called out to Napoleon, who was 
passing by, " Monster ! You have been devouring us 
for ten years ! Friends, he is mad, he is a cannibal ! 
Avoid him, he will swallow us all ! " Napoleon passed 
by, without appearing to hear this, while the dying and 
exasperated man continued to shower epithets upon him. 
Surely Napoleon's mental sufferings were greater than 
his physical discomforts. One can imagine how in sleep- 
less nights as well as in long marches on the white plains 
of snow, there came to him most trying recollections. 

He remembered how the French youth entered into this Rus- 
sian campaign as if going to a picnic, to a joyial expedition of six 
months, promising promotion and decorations. They said to their 
acquaintance, " We are off to Moscow, we shall meet again soon ! " 
They had no thought of hard work and danger. 

Never before had such tremendous preparations for a war been 
made. For a long time before the war began, thousands of men 
of all professions — smiths, locksmiths, carpenters, masons, me- 
chanics, clock-makers, had offered their services. Most of them 
were not even aware that all these preparations were directed 
against Russia. Indeed, public sympathy was inclined to side 
with Russia in her war against Turkey, and the general question 
was: against whom was this expedition to be launched? Was it 


England,. Prussia, . Turkey, Persia, or even the West Indies? 
Tchernicheff's sudden departure gave some clue to the answer, 
but nothing certain was known ; moreover, an army order forbade 
all discussion or mention of war. 

The army was undoubtedly the finest that had ever been raised. 
Eleven corps of Infantry, four corps of heavy Cavalry and 
Guards; altogether 500,000 men with 1,200 guns awaited the 
command of the Emperor. 

How terrible was the contrast between then and now. It 
seemed to Napoleon that it was only yesterday that he was in 
Dresden, where luxury, splendor and adulation had made him a 
fabulous Asiatic demi-god, showering diamonds upon all who 
approached him. 

The Emperor of Austria had protested in the most submissive 
manner that he could always count on Austria to insure the com- 
plete triumph of the expedition; and the King of Prussia had 
assured him, with equal humility, of his undeviating attachment 
to his person and loyal support of his policy. 

The King of all kings, he felt himself embarrassed by the 
attentions of the monarchs, who thronged his ante-chamber, and 
was compelled to hint, as delicately as might be, that he would 
rather dispense with so much adulation. All eyes were fastened 
on him with astonishment and admiration, in expectation of great 
events to come. 
, And these events had now ta^cen place ! 

The campaign began gloriously. Every day was marked with 
some new success, and every officer who reported himself brought 
flattering tidings. Involuntarily he compared with intense self- 
reproach those gorgeously bedecked cavaliers, whose joy it was 
to serve under the greatest of all commanders, and who had 
unconditionally entrusted to him their lives and their honor, with 
the ragged fugitives, scarcely human, who with downcast looks 
were painfully dragging themselves along the roads lined with the 
corpses of their friends. No campaign had begun so successfully. 

Experienced officers had even at that time remarked with 
alarm the great loss of men and horses that occurred from day to 
day. It was conceivable that they should succumb in this fearful 
retreat, but even in the advance, against an almost unresisting 
enemy, they had been worn out by the rays of the burning sun. 
and had fallen by thousands on the road from the combined effects 
of bad water and poor and insufficient food. So great were their 
losses that the full cadres of 2,800 men were reduced to 1,000 
and even less. As to the other side both he and his most experi- 
enced officers were discouraged at the exemplary order in which 
the Russian army retired, under cover of the Cossacks, without 
leaving behind any wounded, carts or guns. 


Napoleon was silent at that time, but he clearly recognized 
the faults in the organization of his army and its commissariat. 
The necessary system was lacking. The bridges and fords on 
the road were soon destroyed, but no one repaired them, and 
each corps d'armee forced its way through as it pleased, for the 
staff did not trouble itself about such trifles. No one took note 
of dangerous spots, of precipitous places. Stragglers were to be 
seen endeavoring to find their regiments; the orderlies could not 
carry out their orders, being continually stopped on the roads, 
which had become almost impassible. From the very beginning, 
discipline became dangerously lax, but success at that time cov- 
ered a multitude of faults. Napoleon himself once burst out 
laughing, instead of appearing annoyed, at the report that the 
lately-appointed sub-prefect of Wilna had been plundered of his 
effects by the soldiers, and appeared at his new post with nothing 
on but his shirt. He was aware that the soldiers plundered and 
ill-treated the inhabitants, but in the hour of triumph he troubled 
himself little about this. 

The Grande Artnee was at that time still in magnificent con- 
dition and Napoleon well remembered the scene of his first entry 
into that part of Russia through which he was now retreating — 
a beautiful country, with a straight, broad road, planted with birch 
trees, the weapons of the advancing army glittering in the sun- 
light. He remembered his disappointment at the sight of the 
Dnieper, that celebrated ancient river of the East, which proved 
to be quite insignificant and not even picturesque. Then the 
Battle of Smolensk, with a French loss of 6,000 killed and 12,000 
wounded and the terrible conflagration in the city. He can still 
see before him the burning town, with its streets full of wounded, 
the Russians setting fire to their own dwellings, and retiring in 
unbroken order, suggesting to him a possibilty that the fate of 
Charles XII. may yet overtake him. He became aware that his 
army was already losing confidence. Where were now the jokes, 
the laughter ? Even the officers appeared to be nervous, and 
did their duty impatiently. He called to mind how at Smolensk 
he himself was anxious and undecided, deaf to the prayers and 
entreaties of his most experienced advisers. Murat had fallen upon 
his knees, Berthier wept. He had not been true to himself, his 
theoretical plans were forgotten, he was urged forward by cir- 
cumstances. How could it be otherwise? The Russian Calvary 
had caught Sebastian unawares and defeated him, the army 
could not be left with the impression of this misadventure. 

The march was almost silent, one heard only the crack- 
ling of the snow under the feet of the officers of the 
suite and of the bodyguard, and, in the distance, the sub- 


dued rumble of the retreating army. Steam from men 
and horses rose up in the still, windless atmosphere, 
the cold became more intense, and the Emperor's thoughts 
more and more gloomy. . . 

Then he thought of the great battle before Moscow, 
with its fearful sacrifice of 40,000 to 50,000 men, and 
its indecisive result. 

Was it not his own fault that this had been merely a great 
battle and not a great victory? Was not it the fault of his illness 
(dysuria) that the battle was not fought out? He had been 
unable to mount a horse, and was compelled to view the battle- 
field from a distance, the battlefield which looked like an ocean 
of smoke, with the din of musket and cannon, with the shouts of 
*' Hurrah ! " and " Vive I'Empereur ! " 

These vexations and obtrusive thoughts excited the 
Emperor to such an extent that he hastened onward and 
began striking out with his stick. 

Again the battle rises before his mind's eye, the Marshals 
begging him for reinforcements to strike a decisive blow, and his 
determination to bring up his last reserve, to lead his Guard in 
person into the fight. This would break the last stand of the 
Russians, who still held the positions into which they had been 
driven, but which were becoming untenable. Soon the bloodiest 
battle in history would end in victory, the army of the enemy 
would be scattered, and Alexander be compelled to beg for peace. 
But now Marshal Bessieres approaches him and whispers, " Do 
not forget. Sire, that you are 800 miles from your base of opera- 

The excitement of this recollection causes the Emperor 
suddenly to stand still, his suite also came to an uprupt 
halt, causing many comical scenes, collisions among the 
Generals, cries and curses among the grooms of the suite 
and private soldiers. Napoleon turns round, looks back, 
and in so doing his eye falls involuntarily upon Marshal 
Bessieres — then marches on again. 

The deed was done; and the battle before Moscow is marked 
down as the most sanguinary but least decisive battle in history. 
As a matter of fact, Bessieres had been in the right. If, in this 
terrible retreat, all the troops do not cast away their guns, if some 
show of order is maintained, if the Guard still retains in a certain 
degree the former spirit and discipline of the army, thanks are 
due to him, for it is owing to him that at Moskowa the Guard 
were spared, and that their ardour was not damped by the losses 



to which the rest of the army was exposed. What would have 
happened if this column of thousands of picked soldiers had 
dwindled to some hundreds, without courage or energy, wholly 
demoralized? Utter destruction would have been inevitable. 

Horses are lost by the thousands, the Calvary marches on foot, 
the guns are abandoned, the ditches on both sides of the road are 
filled with men and horses. The Parthian Calvary were less bold 
than the Cossacks, the burning plains of Bactria less deadly than 
the snowfields of Russia, but the fate of both armies, Roman and 
French, was in every way similar, both were destroyed. The 
trophies of the victory before Moscow were thrown into the rivers, 
together with part of the plundered treasure. All recognize that 
safety lies only in flight. Generals and officers are on the same 
footing as their soldiers — all are in rags, they have let their 
beards grow, are filthy, black with smoke, and covered with 
vermin. The army is but a hord of thieves and murderers, neither 
life nor property is safe; what remains to be stolen is stolen; 
comrades, as they fall, the weak, the sick, the dying, all are robbed. 
The road resembles a battlefield, a cemetery; the villages along 
the line of march are burned to the ground. . . . 

It is incomprehensible how Napoleon could have remained so 
long in Moscow. He alone is responsible for this disgrace. The 
Eylau campaign had led him astray. After having experienced a 
Polish winter, he thought he could gauge the severity of the cold 
in Russia, but he deceived, cruelly deceived himself. 

Darker and gloomier became his thoughts, ever more 
precarious his condition. Around him crackles the frost ! 
France ! Paris ! How very distant they are ! 


Napoleon on the Heights of Borodino (Moscow) 

H. 39^ in., W. 60 in. 

The Emperor reconnoitered in person the Russian po- 
sitions at Borodino, and examined the future field of 
battle for a long time, from the steeple of the Monastery 
of Kolotsky. A glance at the Russian lines sufficed to 
show him that Kutusof f had committed an error by forti- 
fying his right flank and neglecting his left. He noticed 



that the river of Kolotcha turned suddenly to the right 
and concluded that the banks must be very steep hills 
— therefore, there was nothing to be done on that side. 
On the contrary, the left bank of the river was visibly 
lower and the Emperor at once formed his plans. The 
viceroy was to make an attack on the large fortification, 
make a demonstration in front of Borodino and the right 
wing of Kutusoff, Poniatowski was to turn the extreme 
left, while Ney and Davout were to seize the bastions of 
Semenovskoi and, wheeling quickly to the left, drive 
Kutosof f back, and hurl him and the remains of his army 
into the Kolotcha. The plan was well conceived, but Gen- 
eral Bagration's more than average skill and the extreme 
tenacity of the Russian soldier rendered it of no avail. 

Happily for the Russians, Napoleon refused to ap- 
prove of the plan of Marshal Davout, who wished to 
turn with 40,000 men by the old road to Moscow, the 
enemy's position, spend the night in carrying redoubt 
after redoubt by assault, demolish them all, and by seven 
o'clock in the morning, crush, disperse or take the Rus- 
sian forces by attacking from the rear. When we con- 
sider the mistake of Kutusoff, who massed his principal 
forces on the right, far from the march projected by 
the Marshal, we may admit that the Russians would have 
been completely conquered; but Napoleon did not accept 
the plan made by his great tactician because it seemed 
to him audacious, as he said — because of professional 
jealousy, one might add. Altogether the Emperor in 
attacking the Russians from the front gave to Kutusoff 
time to see his mistake and to correct it even under the 
fire of the enemy. 

He saw his mistake, and during the battle, in the 
midst of a terrible fire, managed to wheel his men from 
right to left, where they gave Ney and Davout so much 
trouble that these Marshals were unable to push suffi- 
ciently far forward. Poniatowski, with his Polish regi- 
ments, only managed to force Toutchkoff back slightly 
from his position at Outitza, and thus Napoleon's cal- 
culations fell. 



The French army at Borodino numbered between 
160,000 and 170,000 men.* It had occupied two days 
before the redoubt of Schewardino, which, after having 
changed hands several times during the day, finally re- 
mained in the possession of the French.f 

On the day following the capture of the redoubt no 
battle took place. It seemed as if both sides had agreed 
that everything should be decided to-morrow ; why, there- 
fore, a useless skirmish? All the time preparations were 
made, arms, ammunition and uniforms being carefully 

On the French side there was profound silence, broken 
occasionally by shouts of " Vive I'Empereur." The Guard 
was filled with enthusiasm at the sight of the portrait of 
the King of Rome, which, having arrived from Paris, 
was exposed outside the Emperor's tent. A little more 
excitement prevailed on the side of the Russians, where 
all the army was under arms : the miraculous ikon of the 
Holy Virgin of Smolensk, escorted by Kutusoff and all 
his staff was carried between the ranks of the soldiers, 
who knelt down, praying, weeping and preparing for 

" This will be a hard day," said Napoleon to one of 
his immediate suite, " the battle will be terrible ! " On 
the night preceding the general attack, he was seized with 
fear less the Russian army should again evade him, tak- 
ing advantage of the darkness. This fear disturbed his 
sleep. He continually called to his attendants, inquiring 
whether any noise was heard, and sending out scouts to 

* As at the crossing of the Niemen the army numbered 400,- 
000 men, what had then become of the 230,000 who were missing, 
according to the statement in the XVIIIth Bulletin? Whence 
also came the Russian regiments, which, according to those 
Bulletins, were killed, wounded or wiped out during the previous 
seventy days? 

t It may here be stated that, after this success. Napoleon asked 
why he did not see any prisoners. The answer he received must 
have made him ponder over the gravity of the situation : " Sire, 
they all died rather than surrender." 



note whether the enemy still occupied the same position. 
At last, at five o'clock, an officer sent by Ney requested 
permission for the Marshal to begin the attack. And 
then began the battle, the most sanguinary ever fought 
since the invention of gunpowder. 

Napoleon's point of observation was the best that could 
have been chosen. The whole field of battle lay before 
him. It was in front and slightly to the left of the 
redoubt taken on the 5th, on the borders of a ravine. 
A numerous suite attended him, motionless, full of 
anxiety. The determination of both armies was so great 
that but few prisoners were taken, the trophies also were 
insignificant. There was nothing but fighting, fighting, 
fighting. It is admitted that the losses on both sides 
exceeded 100,000 men in killed and wounded. In view, 
however, of the official statement that more than 56,000 
bodies were buried on the field at Borodino,* it is prob- 
able that nearly 150,000 men were placed hors du combat 
in this single battle. According to his usual custom of 
greatly exaggerating his successes. Napoleon announced 
his victory as decisive, and stated that 50,000 Russians 
had been killed or wounded, whilst he himself had lost 
only 10,000 men. The truth is, according to the most 
credible authorities, that the French losses were enor- 
mous, more than 60,000 men having been either killed 
or wounded, including forty-threee generals and an enor- 
mous number of officers. Whole regiments were swept 
away, and the cavalry completely destroyed, without any 
important results being obtained. Although the enemy 
was driven back, he took up a new position, where he 
awaited the French until a late hour at night, and it was 
only on the following day that he left in good order, 
taking away his guns and baggage. 

In order to turn this orderly retirement into a flight, 
it would have been necessary to attack the Russian army 
again and again, a course which Napoleon, terrified by 
his immense losses, was unwilling to adopt. He was 

* 32,000 horses. 


implored to allow the Guard to advance, as a decisive 
blow ; but he refused, remarking, impatiently, " If I 
have to fight another battle under the walls of Moscow, 
where shall I find the troops ? " The French army una- 
ware, of course, that he was ill, commented severely 
upon his resolution. 

In his order for the day, the Emperor had declared 
that he would remain on the redoubt of Schewardino, 
taken the night before, but he passed the day on a hill 
near by, a little to the left. From time to time he tried 
to walk, but his illness would overcome him and force 
him to resume his chair, there to rest in a fatigued con- 
dition with much suffering. 

" I recapitulated what I had already seen during the 
day," says Baron Lejeune in his " Souvenirs of an Officer 
of the Empire," and, comparing this battle with Wagram, 
Eylau, and Friedland, I was very much astonished not 
to have seen the Emperor, as in preceding years, display 
that activity which commands success. On that day he 
only mounted his horse to ride on to the field of battle. 
Then he sat down below the Guard on a hillock where 
he could see everything. Several cannon balls passed 
over his head. When I returned from my gallops I 
always found him in the same attitude, watching, through 
a pocket glass, all the movements, and giving his orders 
with an imperturbable calmness. But we had not had the 
joy of seeing him, as on other occasions, electrify by his 
presence the troops engaged at those points where a vig- 
orous resistance rendered success doubtful. We were all 
astonished not to find him the alert leader of Marengo, 
Austerlitz, etc. We did not know that Napoleon was 
suffering, and that his illness prevented him from taking 
part in the great doings that were enacted under his very 
eyes, and solely for his glory. Nothing could exceed 
the courage displayed on that day by both sid^s. The 
blood of 80,000 Russians and French was shed, either to 
confirm or shake the power of Napoleon, and he watched 
the sanguinary catastrophes of this terrible tragedy with 



an appearance of composure." " Napoleon had dis- 
mounted," relates the Marquis de Chambray, " Berthier 
was near him. He wore the uniform of the Rifles of the 
Guard. He remained from the beginning of the battle 
in the same spot, or walking up and down with Berthier. 
Behind him was the infantry of the Old Guard, in front, 
and a little to the left, the other regiments of the Guard. 
He was seen to remain apathetic during almost the entire 
battle, in a spot too distant from the field to be able to 
distinguish the operations with his own eyes, and whence 
his orders came often too late. In moments of the great- 
est importance he showed a marked want of resolution, 
in a word, he was not on a level with his reputation, nor 
did his usual luck attend him. I must, however, add 
that he was suffering from a very heavy cold." De la 
Fliise tells us that during the whole of the battle Napo- 
leon did not appear on horseback, owing to illness. He 
wore his grey overcoat, and spoke little. A group of 
officers of his suite was to be seen just behind him. The 
action could not be followed, owing to the dense smoke 
from thousands of guns that covered the horizon. 

" One saw him nearly all this day," says Segur, " seated 
or walking slowly in front of and a little to the left of the 
conquered redoubt on the borders of a ravine far from 
the battle, which he had dimly seen since it passed beyond 
the heights. He made only a few gestures in a resigned 
manner, when from time to time they came to let him 
know of the loss of his best generals. He got up several 
times, took a few steps and reseated himself. All those 
around him looked at him with astonishment. Up to this 
time, under great shocks they had seen a calm activity, 
but here it was a heavy calm or lassitude with no activity. 

On that day his composure indicated lack of energy 
rather than self-possession. He remained in the same 
place, with an air of suffering and depression; his ap- 
pearance was dejected, his look gloomy. He gave his 
orders in a languid manner, in the midst of this horrible 
din of war, which now seemed almost strange to him . . . 



Murat remembered having seen the Emperor, reconnoi- 
tering the enemy's Hnes on the previous day, stopping 
several times, dismounting and leaning his head on a gun 
in an attitude of great suffering. The king knew that in 
this critical moment the power of Napoleon's genius was 
chained down by a body worn out under the triple load of 
fatigue, fever, and of that malady which, above all others, 
breaks down the physical and moral strength of man ..." 

Segur finishes his account of the events of this im- 
portant day with the following remarks : " When he re- 
turned to his tent he was the victim of great mental 
suffering as well as physical depression. He had seen 
the field of battle; the scene spoke in louder tones than 
man. The victory so eagerly longed for, so dearly bought, 
was incomplete. The losses were immense, and without 
proportionate result. Every man around him mourned 
the loss of some friend, relation, brother, for the lot of 
war had fallen on those of most importance. Forty-three 
Generals had been killed or wounded. What weeping 
in Paris ! What a triumph for his enemies ! How dan- 
gerous might be the effect of the news in Germany! 
In his army, even in his tent, there is no sound of con- 
gratulation on his victory. All is silence and gloom. He 
was pleased to tell Europe that neither he nor his Guard 
had been exposed . . . Murat was heard to say that on 
that eventful day he had not recognized Napoleon's 
genius. The Viceroy admitted that he could not under- 
stand the cause of the want of decision shown by his 
adopted father! And when Ney's turn came to give his 
opinion, he showed a curious obstinacy in advising re- 

Those, however, who had not left his side alone saw 
that the conqueror of so many nations had himself been 
conquered by a burning fever, and above all by a return 
of that painful malady which any violent movement, or 
any strong or lasting emotion, was liable to provoke. 
They quoted his own words : " In war, health is indis- 
pensable, and nothing can replace it " ; and his prophetic 



saying on the field of Austerlitz : " There is but one time 
for war ; I shall be good for another six years, after that 
even I must stop." He did not stop, and this was the 

An old Steward 

H. iSy2 in., W. I2>^ in. 

An old Steward, who is relating with great humor how 
he succeeded in buying himself free from serfdom by 
cheatinsf his master. 


Jolly good Fellows: Russian Men's Costumes of the 

XVII. Century 

H. 24 in., W. 18 in. 

The Road at Inkerman 

H. 30 in,, W. 16. in. 

On this rock was played the last act of the drama of 
the battle of Inkerman. A part of the Russian army, 
infantry as well as cavalry, hotly pursued by the allies, 
in terrible disorder, were hurled down from this place. 

A small chapel, erected at the foot of the rock, con- 
tains the bones of those who fell. 

In the Crimea 



The Temple of Diana on the Cape, in the morning 
— as it might have been 3,000 years ago 

H. 17^ in., W. 23^ in. 

The Monastery of St. George, late evening 

H. 16 in., W. 29^ in. 

About the year 60 A, D. the apostle Andrew, the first- 
called (brother of the apostle Peter), came to preach in 
Taurica, especially in the temple of the goddess Diana, 
and it may be supposed that a cave church was made 
here, serving as a foundation for the monastery of St. 
George in the ninth century. St. Clement, the Pope of 
Rome, sent by the emperor Trojan to forced labor in the 
stone quarries of Inkerman, found as many as 2,000 
Christians in these parts. When he was drowned for his 
preaching, together with many other zealous followers 
of the new religion, the spread of Christianity was de- 
layed somewhat. However in the fourth century there 
were already regularly appointed bishop-missionaries here, 
of whom Basil was concealed in the cave church already 
mentioned, before being tortured and delivered up to 
death. The Russians, sailing here in boats, robbed and 
killed not a few, and committed every kind of outrage, 
till their famous invasion under the leadership of Vladi- 
mir, ending in the taking of the Chersonese; the cave 
church had become then the monastery of St. George, 
having, in this manner, an existence of over 1,000 years. 


In the Crimea 



The Rock of St. George 

H. 12^ in., W. 15^ in. 

On which, according to tradition, a thousand years ago 
St. George the Victorious appeared to the drowning Greek 
sailors. After this miracle the monastery was founded. 

In the Transvaal 

To-day, to-morrow, as yesterday, . . . always the same ! 

Mount Kazbek, in the Caucasus 

(16,500 ft.) 

A tradition affirms that the Saviour of the world was 
born on this mountain, and that His cradle is preserved 
up to the present day in one of its gorges. Nevertheless 
all that have tried to discover the sacred spot have been 
struck with blindness. The last great avalanche of snow 
on the Kazbek filled the valley of the river Terek with 
snow, ice and stones to the height of 350 feet, for the 
distance of eleven and one-half miles. 

The classical traditions says that Prometheus was at- 
tached to this rock. 

Mount Elbrooss, in the Caucasus 

(18,000 ft.) 

The scene of many legends, the highest point in Europe, 
wilder than Mt. Kazbek. 




The dry Channel of the River Jumna, India 

A thick growth of reeds, frequented by wild boars, 
panthers and tigers. 

The Snows of the Himalayas 

The highest group of mountains in this colossal chain, 
raising its summits, covered with ice and snow, to the 
height of 27,000 to 29,000 ft. 



University of California 


405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388 

Return this material to tiie library 

from whicli it was borrowed. 




A 000 772 696 i